REVIEW: The Rite

Time and time again, we witness all of these horror exorcism films that are “based on true stories” where they always provide the exact same tone, style of filming and type of suspense in an attempt to terrify its target audience. There has not been one single exorcism film to have been a strong match to sum-up or even surpass the horrifying and realistic execution of the battles between good and evil ever the release of The Exorcist back in 1973 and, quite frankly as predicted, The Rite is another failed exorcism film that is another cheesy and dull addition to the horror/thriller genre that is forgettable, but does have one or two positive aspects.

Although The Rite occasionally has its rather scary segments that are quite difficult to endure, the biggest problem that the film has is that it is just is depressingly flat throughout the majority of the time. It’s like the film is as dry as a plank of wood as it lacks a specific meaning and doesn’t leave the audience with anything to deeply think about. Plus, even though the background art within Rome, in the churches etc and the costumes and make-up upon the actors are absolutely fantastic, The Rite lacks almost everything that’s supposed to meet the feelings of the audiences as the production aspects were the substitutes over the feelings of terror that the film should have had.

The Rite is not the first time that Swedish director and screenwriter Mikael Håfström has brought forth a horror film. He previously worked on 1408 and on the 2010 thriller Shanghai, but considering that being one who’s not all that familiar with his work, he provides impressively produced aspects (i.e. cinematography, art direction and costumes) but he simply was absolutely no match to bring forth the horror, the reality and the drama in an exorcism film like William Friedkin did in The Exorcist in 1973. In fact, to be able to achieve this is an almost impossibility due to the fact that all these exorcism films nowadays all practically interpret almost exactly the same.

The great Sir Anthony Perkins already made his mark in the horror/thriller genre after his Academy Award winning performance as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Silence Of The Lambs and later on portraying said character in the sequel and prequel. However, having said that Anthony Hopkins’ appearance in The Rite is a very crucial aspect that perhaps did save it from disaster, Hopkins still gave a satisfactory performance that is decent enough to endure for 100+ minutes, but he really can do so much better than this! Colin O’Donoghue makes only his third consecutive appearance in a feature film, but first Hollywood film debut, as Michael Kovak. Unfortunately, Kovak provides a performance that was almost like watching paint dry as he provides almost no emotion nor fright to the young man in the slightest, although there have been a few other young actors who’ve given more disappointing performances over the years. The chemistry between O’Donoghue and Hopkins was very one-sided as it felt a lot like it was Hopkins doing all the work and that O’Donoghue gave assumptions that he didn’t want to be part of the film at all. There’s a surprise appearance from veteran Dutch actor Rutger Lauer also best known for the horror/thriller films he has done throughout his career, so he, like Hopkins, provides some kind of sophistication to The Rite.

Overall, The Rite is just another exorcism film making a worthless attempt at renovating the particular the theme within the genre, but turns out a plain and rather flat that really doesn’t terrify the audience all that much. As stated, Hopkins and Rauer add a tad bit of spice into the film but having said that, the other aspects within The Rite just don’t provide the horror and intense experience that we should have had.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 15/05/2012.

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