Direction: Mikael Hafstrom
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Colin O’Donoghue
Essentially yet another variation on the cycle of movies about demonic possession, The Rite does not compare favourably with such nerve-wrackers as Rosemary's Baby (1968), The Exorcist (1973) or The Omen (1976). At best, there are few disquieting scenes featuring Anthony Hopkins who despite top billing, is saddled with a supporting role.
Rather, the focus is on a sceptical seminary student (Irish stage actor O'Donoghue) who is sent to the Vatican to study the rite of exorcism under an unorthodox Jesuit priest (Hopkins). The young seminarian remains unconvinced about the power of divinity until things start to get personal.
Inspired by true events, the narrative devolves into a cavalcade of clichés including creaky contortions, messy make-up effects and cacophonic musical cues. Anything goes here in the name of satanic malevolence.
There are some feeble attempts at humour like the scene in which the exorcist stops in mid-ritual to answer his cellphone. As for the gore-hounds, they will likely be disappointed by the lack of bloodletting.
More tedious than terrifying, The Rite is quite avoidable.