Hey folks Valkor here. My favorite scary movie of all time, without a doubt is "The Exorcist". Long story short, it's slow-paced, with a great build up and seeing this film as a child - yea it scared the hell out of me and still gives me the creeps to this day. Other exorcism films haven't had that same level of creepiness, including the sequels to the original William Friedkin film. But then Warner Home drops this juicy nugget of film on my lap - The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins and Colin O'Donoghue. And it kinda brings me back to the original Exorcist film with a nice twist to it.
The Rite centers on Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue), who is the son of an undertaker Istvan Kovak (Rutger Hauer – Hobo With a Shotgun), and also attending college to be an ordained priest. But his faith isn't in it and so he sends in his letter of resignation. But Father Matthew (Toby Jones) feels he does have the potential and that the priesthood is Michael's calling, so he sends him to Rome to study exorcism. It's there where he meets Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins), who is exorcising a demon from a pregnant local girl, Rosario (Marta Gastini). Throughout the daily sessions, Michael has serious doubts that the girl is possessed at all, even when faced with supernatural events such as the girl spitting up iron spikes or speaking English, when clearly she cannot speak it at all. But when Rosario and her baby die, Michael soon begins to feel the effects of possession. And he must come to grips with his doubts about the existence of the devil and face his ultimate challenge – to exorcise the demon from Father Lucas.
The events of this film are based on a true story of Father Gary Thomas, whom you'll meet in one of the extras "The Rite: Soldier of God". The BD disc also has an alternate "chilling" ending. Finally the blu ray is part of a combo pack which contains not only the BD disc, but also the DVD, and digital download of the film.
And with that, let's enter the TOV Breakdown to see if this film is worthy of your attentions.
I first saw The Rite in theaters and didn't get to see it in its entirety; I only went to see it as a time waster, a precursor to another event. While I expected it to be long and boring, I was surprised that the film was actually good and sadly I had to leave just as the gettin was good. Thankfully with the blu ray I was finally able to finish what I started and without a doubt, The Rite is an excellent film worthy to stand side by side with Friedkin's The Exorcist. The story is rock solid, with a well thought out plot that's chilling and drawns you into its world. The acting is quite good; Colin O'Donoghue carries the film quite well, and Hopkins, while he hams it up, still performs well – especially when he himself becomes possessed. The look of the film is downright gorgeous and the blu ray shines. Finally let's give PerfectView nods to Alice Braga (Angeline) who is unintentionally so damn sexy. I'd like to exorcise her demons if you know what I mean... uhhh... nevermind.
To some this film might be "too slow" and you wouldn't be wrong if because it really is slow paced. But the added rewards of great tension build-up and overall creepiness of the film make up for the drawn out pacing.
The Exorcist is still number one when it comes to films based on exorcism. But given the slew of films that came after it, I'd say "The Rite" stands out above the rest; it's both eerie and entertaining. Plus points for the combo pack because no matter the medium you choose to watch it on – blu ray, DVD, or portable media player, you're covered! And out of TOV 5 stars, I give The Rite Blu Ray Combo Pack 3.5 stars and its Valkor Viewed, TOV Approved!