7 May 2017

THE VATICAN TAPES. (2015) A GRISLY HORROR FILM REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS.




THE VATICAN TAPES. (2015) DIRECTED BY MARK NEVELDINE. BASED ON A STORY BY CHRIS MORGAN AND CHRISTOPHER BORRELLI. STARRING OLIVIA TAYLOR DUDLEY, MICHAEL PENA, DOUGRAY SCOTT, JOHN PATRICK AMEDORI, KATHLEEN ROBERTSON, PETER ANDERSSON AND DJIMON HOUNSOU.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This supernatural horror film garnered mainly negative reviews but, I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it myself. It's an exorcism film about a beautiful young American woman called Angela Holmes. She leads a charmed life, or so it seems at first.

She has a handsome Army colonel who adores her for a Dad, and she has a boyfriend who looks like he should be the guitarist in an indie band. I'm not necessarily saying that that's a good thing, mind! Guys like that are always trouble. They're way too into themselves and their all-important image to totally give themselves to another person emotionally. Harrumph. Yes, I'm speaking from experience. Bitter, bitter experience.

She's also a magnet for birds, is our Angela, especially the big black raven-y kind. They just love her. She's a regular Saint Francis of Assisi as far as the bleedin' birds are concerned. Everything in Angela's life seems to be pretty much peachy-creamy, therefore, until she reaches her twenty-fifth birthday. A doting Daddy, a cute but douchebaggy-looking boyfriend and, of course, the birds. She's got the lot.

Then she cuts her finger while slicing into her birthday cake and it all goes pear-shaped for the comely blonde. An infection sets in and, before she knows what's happened, a car accident she causes while under the influence of a demonic possession leaves her in a coma for forty days. (Forty days? Note the Biblical connotations!)

The fun and games really start to kick off when Angela wakes up from her coma just as the hospital authorities are about to pull the plug on her. Her attempts to drown a baby in the maternity ward cause her to be banged up in a psychiatric facility for evaluation.

The demon who's taken possession of Angela really comes into its own at the psychiatric hospital. Angela mortifies her shrink by revealing that she knows all about that lady's shameful sexual affair with a married man. She causes a staff member to kill himself horribly without saying so much as a word to him audibly.

When finally she incites the inmates of the psych ward to riot violently by murmuring frenzied Aramaic to a wall, the hospital quite sensibly decide that they can't handle her anymore and so they give her the bum's rush. 

Father Lozano, the priest who's been keeping a fatherly eye on Angela and her family, thinks it might be time to call in the big boys. Cardinal Bruun from the Vatican comes to the Holmes house to conduct an exorcism, with startling results...

I was a bit disappointed that not once did Cardinal Bruun say 'The power of Christ compels you,' and neither was he sprayed with a disgusting pea-green goo at any time. There were the eggs, though, and I did like the way in which he seemed to have a ready Biblical interpretation for all of Angela's bizarre behaviour.

The Dad and the boyfriend were pretty much useless during the exorcism itself. I liked how the whole annoying CGI thing didn't rear its ugly head too much during the film but neither, sadly, were there any real scares anywhere in the movie.

Even though I enjoyed watching this film and it kept my interest for the full ninety minutes, it wasn't remotely frightening. The only bit that will probably stay with me for a while will be the sexy-as-hell Vicar Imani's intoning gravely about the Devil's modus operandi.

From the day we're born till the day we die, Satan apparently never stops trying to get a toe-hold into our lives and souls. He also has no criteria for choosing his victims. It could be anyone, from a newborn baby in its mother's arms to a young soldier going off to the Middle East to the old homeless man methodically going through the bins outside a busy restaurant.

This is the Devil that really scares me, this random possessor of people's souls. Of course, in the films, it's only ever the sexy young women with the long hair, short nighties and pretty faces that can be altered by make-up to look 'possessed' who attract Satan's attention and need exorcising. You're perfectly safe from the Devil's clutches otherwise, haha.

Oh, and have you ever noticed how there's always a guitar in the possessed girl's bedroom? It's obviously on the list of things that the props people think that young women keep in their bedrooms. Posters, CDs, clothes scattered about the place, oh, and a guitar.

Mind you, I had a guitar in my bedroom myself when I was about fifteen. I was randomly given it for Christmas by two people who didn't really know me at all (you know who you are, Mum and Dad!), otherwise they would have given me books and nothing but books instead of a poxy musical instrument

I took a few guitar lessons after school but I was told to leave after about three. Sister Assumpta said that I had no musical talent whatsoever and that, furthermore, my efforts were triggering her migraines. She was right, of course, but still. The auld bitch...! She's not the boss of me. Anymore...

The whole exorcism situation in the film looks well dodgy to me, by the way. A beautiful and fragile young women on her knees in her nightie in her bedroom, in front of four big strapping men who are all towering over her? I'm telling you, it looks like there's about to be a flippin' gang-bang...!

My doctor says I need to exorcise more, by the way, while we're on the subject. I'm getting to that age where I need to start thinking about my health. I wonder if watching a few exorcise DVDs has any effect? Maybe I should pick up a few at the store. There seem to be a load of them about to choose from, anyway.

EXORCISING WITH REGAN: A FULL TWO-HOUR WORKOUT, that looks like it might be fun and not too hard to do. THE LAST EXORCISM? Well, as long as it was definitely the last one, haha. THE EMILY ROSE EXORCISE VIDEO, now that seems like it might be a bit too strenuous for me. I only want to watch people exorcising. I've no intention of actually doing it. Christ, no...!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com











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