Review | The Vatican Tapes (2015)
- Directed by: Mark Neveldine
- With: Kathleen Robertson, Michael Peña, Djimon Hounsou
- 91 Minutes
Before watching this movie I decided to search a bit about it and I found out that its release was not certain, at least for several years. The Vatican Tapes has something different and peculiar that caught my attention. According to the plot, the Vatican stores in a secret compartment scary recordings that report the Devil’s appearances in our planet. Thousands of tapes are stored for research purposes and the fact is that evil forces are getting stronger, putting everyone in grave danger in what appears to be a massive threat against our safety and integrity. The found-footage genre has never seen anything like this but unfortunately this apparently interesting idea lacks development in a story that is mostly concerned with a woman’s possession, which is something we’ve all seen before by now.
The movie starts by introducing its basic idea… The Vatican stores relevant information regarding demon activity in a huge compartment controlled by two priests that act like Warriors of God. When they receive an urgent request for help, the two priests start investigating the case of Angela Holmes, which will lead them into the so called ultimate battle between Good vs. Evil. While the priests investigate, we witness what happened to the sweet young girl… We watch her innocent life and her sudden transformation, after being possessed by an evil entity that forces her to do some disturbing stuff. So basically most of the movie’s first act is spent this way… In this first act we witness how her family tried to deal with the situation and Angela is transferred to a mental hospital to be investigated by specialists. This moments are actually interesting but as soon as the demon starts reveling himself, The Vatican Tapes turns into another bland commercial horror movie about possession, which is sad, since I saw a bit of potential in the recordings plot. In the second act, the two priests we meet in the beginning face a pretty difficult challenge when they found out who they’ve to deal with. So The Vatican Tapes offers no more than just a regular horror movie, except for the recordings stored by the Vatican which offer a different point of view on how the church deals with this evil forces.
The visual effects and the acting are suitable for the movie but most of the movie’s good points are centered in Angela’s father, a devastated man that happens to be the most natural character in the movie. The issue with The Vatican Tapes is the fact that it never fulfills your expectations simply because it adds nothing to the genre. The basic idea may sound interesting but the story lacks development, energy and interesting events. We never feel terrified by the imminent threat and I haven’t felt any sign of compassion for Angela, which is bad since she faces a terrifying demon in the movie. While the found-footage genre is mostly based on true events and seeks interest in stories that seem natural or real, The Vatican Tape is influenced by modern day’s horror movies… The story and the characters are not well developed and the ending is somehow abrupt. It’s clear that this was an attempt to do something different but in the end it’s only able to provide some fun at the movies. A journey that lacks intensity and depth and needs more scary content to work, even though there are not that many jump scare scenes, The Vatican Tapes has some interesting/curious points but that isn’t enough to save the movie.