A newcomer to a Catholic prep high school falls in with a trio of outcast teenage girls who practice witchcraft and they all soon conjure up various spells and curses against those who even slightly anger them.
A priest from the Vatican is sent to Sao Paulo, Brazil to investigate the appearance of the face of the Virgin Mary on the side of a building. While there he hears of a statue of the Virgin Mary bleeding tears in a small town outside of the city. Meanwhile, a young woman in the U.S. begins to show signs of stigmata, the wounds of Christ. The priest from the Vatican links up with her and cares for her as she is increasingly afflicted by the stigmata. Her ranting and raving finally begins to make sense to the priest who starts to question what his religion has stood for for the last 1900 years. Written by
Jeff Mellinger <email@example.com>
Frankie Paige (Patricia Arquette) is a hip 20-something New Yorker who faces a nasty wake-up call when she gets randomly attacked by an unseen force, puncturing her wrists. While the hospital calls it a suicide attempt, the Vatican thinks she may be showing signs of stigmata and sends a priest (Gabriel Byrne) to investigate.
This is one of the more clever "religious horror" films that I've seen. Using a young atheist girl as the recipient of stigmata is an original and intriguing concept. The various violent scenes where the fabulously stylish Arquette is attacked are gory and horrific, but so gorgeously shot that you cannot take your eyes away. Unfortunately, there are too many boring scenes of babbling priests. There was a bit of controversy when this was released because it hypothesizes about some very horrific skeletons in the closet of the Catholic church. The DVD features the Director's alternate ending that is decidedly less Hollywoodized than the theatrical release, but leaves the story in a confused, contradictory space. Recommended for fans of religious and stylish horror. My Rating: 7/10
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