THE CLEANSING HOUR (2019) Reviews and overview

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‘The perfect internet hoax just went to hell’

The Cleansing Hour is a 2019 American supernatural horror feature film about a hoax live-stream exorcism that goes viral when it turns out to be real.

Directed by Damien LeVeck from a screenplay co-written with Aaron Horwitz, based on their 2016 short film of the same name; the movie stars Kyle Gallner, Ryan Guzman and Alix Angelis.


Millennial entrepreneurs, Drew (Kyle Gallner) and Max (Ryan Guzman), run a webcast that streams supposedly live exorcisms that are, in fact, elaborately staged hoaxes. However, the pair get their comeuppance when today’s actress becomes mysteriously possessed by a real demon that holds the crew hostage. To make matters worse, the possessed victim is Drew’s fiancée, Lane (Alix Angelis).

In front of a rapidly-growing global audience, the demon subjects Max to a series of violent and humiliating challenges meant to punish him for his online charade. Meanwhile, in an effort to save the love of his life, Drew discovers that the demon’s sinister motive is not only about revenge but also to expose the dark secrets he, Max, and Lane have been hiding from one another…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

The Cleansing Hour has a lot going for it. Great practical effects, wonderful chemistry between the actors, and some clever social commentary seem to set apart from other horror movies. Unfortunately, some dodgy CGI and an awful conclusion prevent it from being anything special.” Adventures in Poor Taste

“It’s not the perfect film. There are a couple of rough CGI moments, and a few clichés slip their way into the plot. But, at the end of the day, I spent a lot of the movie grinning. The script is fresh, and everything wrapped together resulted in a genuinely fun take on exorcism and possession in the digital age.” Birth. Movies. Death.

“This is a snarky takedown of the digital age that doesn’t really hit its stride until the third act. There’s a lot of cheesy clichés, jokes that land with mixed results, and a mostly by the numbers possession story that diminishes a great concept. There’s a really good movie buried in here somewhere, and it does offer enough silly fun for those in the mood for something lighthearted and easy.” Bloody Disgusting

” …a film that hits so hard and unexpectedly that it makes you push back in your seat. As you watch the narrative twist like a possessed girl’s body it engages you with superb creature designs and practical effects while making you laugh with its dark humor that puts a mirror up to how we all behave online.” But Why Tho?

“Possession horror for the live-streaming generation. Some fun creature work and haunts as a celebrity “exorcist” faces an actual demon on his closed set. Midnight fun ensues.” Letterboxd

“Sorry guys, as much as I liked the film, any time it went into CGI and away from the incredible practical effects, I was disappointed. It didn’t ruin the film but was a distraction […] The satire of religion might turn off a few folks. But the creature from hell here is quite the bad-ass, and I’m sure horror fans will love him.” Morbidly Beautiful

“Some of the pacing and transitional issues could have been budgetary problems. Overall, I really liked The Cleansing Hour and would recommend it to fans of the horror-comedy subgenre, even if it’s not exactly perfect. The film is worth a watch…” Pop Horror

“LeVeck and Horowitz keep the story moving at a good pace and The Cleansing Hour doesn’t lack for demonic activity. Certainly, we’ve seen some of it before, the sink that fills with blood instead of water, flame tattoos that become the real thing, etc. But the film moves along fast enough that there isn’t time to dwell on it.” Voices from the Balcony


The world premiere of The Cleansing Hour was at Fantastic Fest 2019 on September 19th. The movie was also an official selection at Sitges 2019.

The Cleansing Hour is streaming on Shudder.

Cast and characters:

  • Kyle Gallner … Drew
  • Ryan Guzman … Max
  • Alix Angelis … Lane
  • Joanna David … Schoolmarm
  • Emma Holzer … Riley
  • Giulia Nahmany … Mom
  • Chris Lew Kum Hoi … Chris
  • Matt Raimo … Derek
  • Amrou Al-Kadhi … Dante
  • Daniel Hoffmann-Gill … Tommy
  • Lucas Bond … Young Max
  • Shvan Aladdin … Faiz
  • Jynarra Brinson … Desiree
  • Ionut Grama … Humberto
  • Tiberiu Harsan … Paul
  • Abeal Siddiq … Malek
  • Sam Hale … Chef Ortiz
  • Sean Hamilton … Bryce
  • Dan Ursu … Drunk Jerk
  • Ana Udroiu … Brenda
  • Andreea Coff … White House Assistant
  • Aaron McVeigh … Young Drew
  • Tara Karsian … Voice of Possessed Lane (voice)

Filming locations:

Santa Clarita, California

Watch The Cleansing Hour (2016) short via El Rey Network on Facebook

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