‘The Exorcism of God’: Fresh Head Spin on the Possession Subgenre

Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer

Plot: An American priest working in Mexico is possessed during an exorcism and ends up committing a terrible act. Eighteen years later, the consequences of his sin come back to haunt him, unleashing the greatest battle within.

Review: You’ve seen one possession movie you see them all right? Ever since The Exorcist projectile vomited itself on to the big screen and into our horror loving hearts movies about someone (usually female) being possessed and a priest doing battle with demonic forces became common place. Some good, some bad and most forgettable, the one thing they have in common is they’re all pretty by the numbers in terms of story beats. That’s why I found myself genuinely surprised by The Exorcism of God, a movie I nearly passed up thinking it was just going to be another forgettable possession flick, only to have it throw the rules out the window and deliver something different enough to be engaging.

When you’re bingeing the second season of Bridgerton at 3am and your husband walks in on you

Director Alejandro Hidalgo and his writing partner Santiago Fernandez Calvete takes the age old theme of a priest being brought in to exorcise a young woman and very early on flips the script by having the priest Father Peter fall for the demon’s seductive wiles (eeeww), tainting his soul. Years later Father Peter, hard at work trying to feed and protect the children of a Mexican orphanage, discovers that his walk on the nasty side has produced a daughter who is now herself possessed by the same demon he hooked up with. See what I mean about it being different?

The imagery and special effects here go a long way in keeping your attention and I have to say the “possession” makeup is some of the best I’ve seen in years, possibly as good as Regan’s was in The Exorcist. Lead actor Will Beinbrink as Father Peter is charismatic and sympathetic and the actors and actresses playing the possessed were effective in their roles. The most surprising however was seeing Joseph Marcell of all people in the role of a foul mouth, tequila drinking, and scene stealing priest named Father Michael Lewis. For those of you not in the know, Marcell played the prim and proper British butler Geoffrey Butler on 90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, so hearing him cuss at demons shocked the hell out of me in the best ways possible.

Move no further. For there are demons to right of us, demons to left of us, demons in front of us, volley’d and thunder’d!

While the middle act gets messy and the movie does drag on a tad longer than it needs to, I would be lying if I said I didn’t find this interesting. I mean, how often do you see a movie where a demon tries to exorcise a priest?! It may not be what some would consider scary (although I totally see the casual viewer screaming their heads off at this) but The Exorcism of God deserves points for not taking the lazy route and, at the very least, putting a fresh spin on a much worn out trope.

Sommer’s Score: 6 out of 10

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2755F829-2EEC-4A68-B6F7-F963F48C9D92 Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.

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