Given how crowded the exorcism movie sub-genre is, it’s not all that often that viewers are treated to a refreshing spin that stands out from the crowd. But, one film that definitely made a mark is filmmaker Damien LeVeck’s The Cleansing Hour, one of the most popular releases on Shudder in 2020, the year which also saw the horror streaming service smash all previous viewing records.
Starring Ryan Guzman (The Boy Nextdoor, “9-1-1”), Kyle Gallner (American Sniper, Dear White People) and Alix Angelis (The Magnificent Seven, Love’s Last Resort), LeVeck’s latest project combines all the trappings of classic exorcism films with the toxicity of social media. Max (Guzman) and Drew (Gallner) run a popular webcast that streams “live exorcisms” that are watched by millions of shocked followers around the world. In reality though, the streams are just elaborately staged hoaxes performed by paid actors. But the swindlers’ fortunes take a turn when one of the actors ends up actually becoming possessed by a demon and takes the crew hostage. In front of a rapidly growing audience, the demon subjects the crew to a series of violent challenges, threatening to expose the dark secrets they’ve been hiding from each other unless they come clean and reveal who they really are before the show ends.
With The Cleansing Hour available on VOD, Digital HD and DVD from January 19, 2021, we sat down with LeVeck who shared with us his shock and surprise as to how many parallels the film ended up sharing with our current predicament…
The bonus features on the DVD include a Director’s commentary, “On the Set of The Cleansing Hour” and the original The Cleansing Hour short film that this movie was based on.
Words: Howard Gorman