January 30, 2011
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Let’s get one thing straight, Anthony Hopkins is a very talented actor. Unfortunately, he has spent most of the years since Silence of the Lambs playing the same character type. Here, it is tried far beyond its shelf life.
The Rite is about Michael Kovak, a young man trying to figure out what to do with his life. Rather than continue in his father’s footsteps as a Mortician/Funeral Director, he decides to become a priest. But as a man of questionable faith, he doubts the whole process. When he attempts to give that up and move back home, he instead is asked to attend a class in Rome regarding the Exorcist ritual. There he meets Hopkins’ Father Lucas. Lucas, a priest of unorthodox methods, attempts to teach Michael about faith and devil.
There seems to be a resurgence of religious horror films as of late. But where The Last Exorcism succeeded with a micro-budget and suspense, The Rite squandered with cheap effects and no arc. The latter is too heavy-handed to do much of anything. At the end of the film, nothing new has been discovered and no real change has been made. It also didn’t benefit from a horror film rating of PG-13, which in those genre terms means crap more often than not.
I admit to going in to the film with a bit of curiosity. The execution of the effects, what little there are, don’t do anything to add to the film. It focuses on the tension and suspense that the neither the cast nor the script can provide. Having someone like Mikael Håfström, who did the cramped horror success 1408, can’t get lightning to strike twice. This is a dud of a movie in one of the most dud friendly parts of the movie calendar year. Skip this. .5 stars out of 5