The Vatican review their tapes of a possessed girl they dealt with.
For most parents seeing their child have screaming arguments, getting drunk and indulging in all manner of inexplicable behaviour can mean only one thing. They are a teenager. The Vatican Tapes has a different slant suggesting instead that they’re satanically possessed. Starting with the reveal that the Vatican has investigated over 2000 possible possessions all of which have been filmed it focuses on one particular case of a teenage girl who, as priests review the footage of a case interview with her, spot a demon in freeze frame. From here the film rewinds back to the start of her story where as an apparently happy go lucky girl she accidently cuts herself at a birthday party before things start to escalate. It’s here that a raven pops up, which legend suggests is a carrier of the devils work although I always thought that that was Amanda Holden carrying out the bidding of Simon Cowell. The raven follows her everywhere though bizarrely not when she’s just washed the car so as to poop on it. With her behaviour grows increasingly more erratic and disturbing culminating in a somewhat tasteless scene where she attempts to drown a baby she ultimately ends up in an asylum. With a priest taking an interest in her case he comes to the conclusion that she is possessed by a demon and cue the inevitable seen it all before traumatising exorcism.
And that is the problem with a film about possession, the exorcism itself. With ‘The Exorcist’ setting the bar so high as to be insurmountable any film featuring an exorcism has little new to offer though here we are treated to a scene where she vomits whole hard boiled eggs like a cut price conjurer at a child’s party. Even William Peter Blatty who wrote The Exorcist realised this refusing to do feature it in that films sequel ( though he was ultimately forced to include one by the film financiers)and The Vatican Tapes owes a lot to both that film and the Omen trilogy also.
As with any film of this nature it features several notably grim scenes and not just the attempt to drown a baby but also a scene with a pair of light bulbs that will bring tears to your eyes and a scene where the inmates of the asylum go berserk is frankly.. well….. insane. Though this is not one of those weary found footage films there is a lot of the film on CCTV being viewed by others and this would have worked well as the priests try to piece together what has happened but as it is it merely serves to intersperse the film at regular intervals.
This is all pretty run of the mill but is partly saved by a though provoking ending which references the Book of Revelation and provides the basis for perhaps a more compelling story. Maybe in a sequel?
Words: Simon Hooper (@anygoodfilms?)