THE VATICAN TAPES (2015) Reviews and overview

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‘If you believe in God then you believe in the Devil’
The Vatican Tapes is a 2015 American supernatural horror film directed by Mark Neveldine (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) from a screenplay by Christopher Borrelli (Whisper; Eloise), based on a story co-written with Chris Morgan.

The movie stars Kathleen Robertson, Michael Peña, Djimon Hounsou and Dougray Scott.

After a young woman (Olivia Taylor Dudley) begins to express increasingly erratic and strange behaviour, her father (Dougray Scott) and boyfriend (John Patrick Amedori), along with priest Father Lozano (Michael Peña) and two Vatican exorcists (Djimon Hounsou and Peter Andersson), come to realise that she’s been taken over by an ancient satanic force. It’s all up to Father Lozano to wage war for more than just Angela’s soul, but for the world as we know it…


” …director Mark Neveldine, who is no master of dread but a dab hand at dispensing regular shocks, brings an undeniable lunatic conviction to this cheaply derivative religio-horror freakout while running up the sort of abnormally high body count you’d expect from a Die Hard sequel rather than an occult thriller. Silly, screechy and eminently watchable…” Variety

“The director Mark Neveldine deploys queasy lighting and a trembling score, but his best choice is to let Ms. Dudley stare at us. She conveys unnerving shifts in self-awareness and sinister intent with her eyes. Her flick of an eyebrow or odd change in posture is more gripping than the film’s usual scare tactics.” The New York Times

“Like technological innovation itself, the film seems overwhelmed by the reach of all its techo-cultural parts. It lends further resonance to a moment when a priest asks a young character, gesturing to a camera: “Can you plug this in?” The answer, it seems, can no longer be a simple yes or no.” Slant Magazine


“There are some eccentric jolts along the way, including a neat-looking car crash filmed from inside the wrecked vehicle, and a scene of grisly (though largely implied) violence involving two light bulbs. But for the most part, Dudley is the only thing worth hanging on to in The Vatican Tapes. Dudley’s performance isn’t interesting unto itself, but Neveldine is constantly trying to find new ways to get viewers to examine her face…”


“Director Neveldine, who displayed a real flair for kinetic action sequences in his previous films, has staged the proceedings with remarkably little tension, with the exorcism itself being not much more exciting than watching your local priest deliver communion. Everyone involved seems thoroughly bored, especially Pena, who looks like he’s desperate to tear off his too-tight collar.” The Hollywood Reporter

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

Cast and characters:
Olivia Taylor Dudley … Angela
John Patrick Amedori … Pete
Dougray Scott … Roger
Michael Peña … Father Lozano
Peter Andersson … Cardinal Mattias Bruun
Djimon Hounsou … Vicar Imani
Kathleen Robertson … Dr Richards
Sam Upton … Orderly Mason
Cas Anvar … Dr Fahti
Michael Halsey … Dr Bramwell
Alex Sparrow … Resident Kulik
Jarvis George … Detective Simmons
Michael Paré … Detective Harris
Alex Corrado … Bishop Saldano
Montanna Gillis … Jackie
Chance Lang … Brad
Noemi Gonzalez … Maria
Allegra Lucchesi … Allegra
Ashley Gibson … Ashley
Scott Sheldon … ER Receptionist
Max Adams … ICU Doctor
Ann Reilly … ICU Nurse #1
Amie Dellavalle … ICU Nurse #2
Alison Lohman … Psych Patient
Michael Gabriel … Psych Ward Guard
Natasha Wright … Levitating Girl

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The film was released in the US on May 22, 2015, by Lionsgate. In the UK, The Vatican Tapes was released by Signature Entertainment on October 30th in cinemas and On Demand for Halloween.


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