The Rite Blu-ray review


            The horror genre is boringly predictable once you get to understand it. The genre as a whole has predictable patterns, and each other sub-genres do as well, and even which of these sub-genres are going to be popular can be predicted. Any time there is one successful film, a hoard of copycats will follow. It isn’t as if these films just suddenly appear. These are mostly scripts that are green-lit as soon as the subject seems to be selling. And recently there have been far too many exorcism films returning to the screen. Few ever have impressed me, and as well made as The Rite may be technically, I have little interest in the content.

            The Rite has everything you have come to expect from exorcism films, including sexual dialogue coming from a demon possessed girl, eyes rolling back and fingernails scratching anything nearby. Bodies are contorted, unknown is known by the possessed, etc, etc, etc. This is actually one of the few horror films where the characters and dialogue is actually far more interesting than the scares or the horror. Perhaps this is a testament to the scriptwriter and actors, but it does make the film feel somewhat unsuccessful as a horror film. Or maybe I’m just too desensitized to the R-rated horror of this genre. Anthony Hopkins revels in the role of Father Lucas, a legendary exorcist in the Vatican, a man who takes a doubting student (Colin O’Donoghue) under his wing.

I suppose the problem I have with these film is that nothing ever seems to match The Exorcist, and this is entirely true with this film as well. This may not be fair, but this is simply how I feel. The fact that the film is rated PG-13 doesn’t make it any more exciting in that aspect, mostly because the horror doesn’t seem to be the focus as much as the theological discussion, which is excellently played out amidst the unsuccessful horror.

            The Blu-ray does come with quite a few perks in the special features, as well as an excellent high definition presentation of the film. There are a few deleted scenes and a featurette about a real Vatican-ordained exorcist. The only special feature I don’t understand is the alternate ending. ‘How can you have an alternate ending on a film which is based on true events?’ you ask. Well, this film is actually just inspired by true events, so I guess that helps.

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