Review by Sean Boelman
Low-budget exorcism movies are a dime a dozen, and worse yet, they’re typically derivative of one another. With a name like The Exorcism of God, one would hope that Alejandro Hidalgo’s film would be over-the-top and wild, but in reality, it’s just another in a long line of dull movies that follow the same tropes.
The movie follows a priest working in Mexico who, eighteen years after a tragic incident in which he was possessed during an exorcism, finds himself challenged again by the same supernatural presence. But rather than being an effective B-movie in its own right, it feels like a mere imitation of the classics of the genre, especially The Exorcist.
There are a few interesting sequences throughout that show the potential this film could have had if it went all-in on the camp factor, but the movie gets so caught up in the dull drama that it can’t ever be scary. Instead, it’s a bunch of shock sequences that are meant to disturb and offend but will mostly be met with ambivalence.
The execution of the film is incredibly hit-or-miss. There is one action scene in the movie that is shot in a way that is genuinely exciting and impressive, but then other parts fall back too heavily on the clichés of filming exorcism movies. And while there is some great make-up work, the CGI is undeniably terrible.
This archetype of the sinful and repentant holy man is tried-and-true, but this one goes a bit too far. The sins committed by the protagonist of the film are a bit too repugnant for the audience to easily forgive and believe that he is an honest, good man. The movie tries to use the character’s friendships and relationships as further development, but it isn’t enough.
The film is very heavy-handed with its message about forgiveness. It’s the type of movie where its heart is obviously in the right place but the way in which it expands upon it is so misguided that it is embarrassing. It may not have been what the film was trying to say, but implying that people should be forgiven for rape is… troubling at best.
Will Beinbrink plays the lead role in the movie, and his performance exists in the weird gray area where it isn’t big enough to be campy, but also isn’t subtle enough to have any real emotional heft to it. Like much of the rest of the film, Beinbrink is obviously trying, but misses the mark due to lackluster direction.
The Exorcism of God has an interesting title that is sure to turn some heads, but the movie is nowhere near as impressive as that would imply. In fact, the only thing that will challenge audiences about this film is its problematic mindset.
The Exorcism of God is now in theaters and on VOD.