Taking place years after The Haunting of Molly Hartley, who now, as an adult, has fallen under the possession of an evil spirit and must be exorcised by a fallen priest before the devil completely takes her.
20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show in a misguided attempt to honor the anniversary of the tragedy - but soon discover that some things are better left alone.
A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family that reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.
THE VATICAN TAPES follows the ultimate battle between good and evil - God versus Satan. Angela Holmes is an ordinary 27-year-old until she begins to have a devastating effect on anyone close, causing serious injury and death. Holmes is examined and possession is suspected, but when the Vatican is called upon to exorcise the demon, the possession proves to be an ancient satanic force more powerful than ever imagined. It's all up to Father Lozano to wage war for more than just Angela's soul, but for the world as we know it. Written by
One would expect a rich cultural or more in-depth take of possession premise with a title such as The Vatican Tapes. Unfortunately, it's nothing more than mediocre horror with barely anything new. Not to mention it's trapped between forced found footage style for some parts and shaky cam for the rest.
It's the story as old as the supposed entity possessing the poor victim, in this case Angela (Olivia Taylor Dudley). She begins showing weird behavior and it eventually attracts the attention of Vatican. For acting department, there are actually some decent names here such as Michael Peña, Djimon Hounsou or Dougray Scott. They all have worked in bigger movies or played different roles, and there's a visible effort here, but the material is so thin their characters feel lackluster.
Pacing is also another issue. The way it's presented might make the timeline seem odd, it switches back and forth between early stages of haunting and eventual discovery. However, the transition is poor and it doesn't escalate well, although that's partially because of the timid horror. Visually, it's very confusing, often using documentary style such as following character with camcorder perspective or CCTV videos, all of which are unnecessary and only manage to limit the presentation.
As for the creepy parts, they are practically the stuffs of old. If you have seen any similar movie in past couple of years, chances are you've seen this before. A few scenes fare better, although these are also heavily borrowed from other films. There's barely any grand sight or atmosphere of Vatican, in fact the priests from holy city almost like supporting character that pop up in small portion of the movie.
It's all right if the concept is not novel, many other movies have done old concept well. However, The Vatican Tapes relies too heavily on superficial gimmicks and sadly low on thrill.
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