By Felix Dalgo
The 1-4-0: #TheVaticanTapes is complex, but in a way that doesn’t bore the audience, while at the same time keeping you at the edge of your seat, biting your nails.
The Gist: The film follows Angela (Olivia Dudley), a beautiful but ordinary young woman who begins to exhibit strange behaviors that seem to coincide with terrible tragedies involving anyone close to her. When demonic possession is suspected the Vatican is called upon to perform an exorcism that quickly proves to be no match for the ancient satanic force inhabiting Angela’s body, which later is revealed to be the Anti-Christ. Realizing the entire world is in jeopardy, Father Lozano (Michael Pena) is brought in to wage war for Angela’s soul and for life, as we know it.
What Works: I couldn’t walk my dog last night, because of this film. This film does a very good job at connecting the stories that are found in the bible about the subject and creating a world for it, from the usage of the raven, to the ancient language. But what really worked in this film that separates it from others is the performance by Olivia Taylor Dudley. Her performance really brought authenticity to the story. She was so good in this film that there was really no need for much special effects. Most of it was just her amazing acting, which is great and terrifying at the same time, because she played a possessed individual way too good.
What Doesn’t Work: Even though the films tells a detailed story about the main character, how she is possessed and why she is chosen, it lacks information about the rest of the characters. Most importantly the priest Lozano, portrayed by Michael Peña. He is in a way the hero of the film and yet the film mentions very little of his background. There is just a brief mention about his life before becoming a priest but nothing more. It left me with questions, most importantly, why is he the one to take on this demon? What makes him the priest that has to fight off the possession? There is no information about that. Unfortunately, it took some of the intensity off the film. I just wish there was a better explanation about him. Also, the ending leaves such a cliffhanger that it ends right when everyone wanted to see more.
Pay or Nay: Pay. This film really caught me by surprise. The action, the suspense and the fear were vivid throughout the film. This is a film that makes you think about what else there is in this world – are there forces beyond our understanding? It is a must watch.
Rated: PG-13 for violence, frightening images, some language and thematic elements.
Release Date: July 24, 2015
Screenplay: Christopher Borrelli
Director(s): Mark Neveldine
Starring: Michael Pena, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Djimon Hounsou, Dougray Scott
Film Genre: Horror