The Vatican Tapes
|The Vatican Tapes|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mark Neveldine|
|Screenplay by||Christopher Borrelli|
|Music by||Joseph Bishara|
|Cinematography||Gerardo Mateo Madrazo|
|Edited by||Eric Potter|
|Box office||$13.5 million|
The Vatican Tapes is a 2015 American supernatural horror film directed by Mark Neveldine from a screenplay written by Christopher Borrelli, which is in turn based on a story by Chris Morgan and Christopher Borrelli.
In the Vatican, Vicar Imani (Djimon Hounsou) shows Cardinal Bruun (Peter Andersson) the case of Angela Holmes (Olivia Taylor Dudley), a young American woman who is suspected of harboring an evil spirit.
Three months earlier in the United States, Angela is given a surprise birthday party by her father, Roger (Dougray Scott), and boyfriend, Peter "Pete" Smith (John Patrick Amedori). She accidentally cuts herself and is rushed to the hospital, where she briefly meets Father Lozano (Michael Peña). She is injected with a serum that causes an infection; at home, she experiences a seizure and is placed under care at a hospital. A few days later, she is released, but in the taxi on the way home, she violently grabs the wheel, causing an accident that puts her in a coma for 40 days. Just as her life support is about to be switched off, she comes round, seemingly in perfect health.
However, Angela begins to show symptoms of demonic possession when she almost drowns a baby, followed by forcing a detective to commit suicide. Lozano sends her to a psychiatric hospital. A distraught Roger confesses that Angela's mother was a prostitute; she was pregnant just a few months after Roger met her before she abruptly left, implying that Roger merely adopted Angela. Angela's possession becomes worse; she taunts her psychiatrist, Dr. Richards (Kathleen Robertson), eventually culminating in her speaking in Aramaic that induces hysteria and mass suicide in her fellow patients. Deciding that nothing can save her, the hospital releases her.
The movie returns to present day. Bruun concludes that Angela is possessed by the Antichrist due to the presence of the crows around her, which are agents of Satan, and instructs Imani to stay back while he heads to the United States to cure her. An exorcism he plans involves a Eucharist, where Angela reacts by vomiting blood and spitting three eggs, meant to symbolize a perverted Trinity. Bruun also comments that her birth from a prostitute perverts the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. Bruun then realizes that the Antichrist is already a part of Angela; killing him would mean Angela's death as well. Just after Bruun kills Angela, she rises up as the resurrected Antichrist, mirroring the Resurrection of Jesus, and kills Bruun, Roger, and Pete. She spares Lozano and tells him to inform the Vatican that the Antichrist is roaming the Earth.
Three months later, Lozano, having been released from the hospital, visits the Vatican and is allowed access to the archives by Imani. He is shown footage of what has happened since: Angela returns as the only "survivor" of the exorcism besides Lozano and is now performing miracles to gather followers. The film ends with her entering a large room to greet her followers by stretching out her arms.
- Olivia Taylor Dudley as Angela
- Michael Peña as Father Oscar Lozano
- Dougray Scott as Roger, Angela’s father
- Djimon Hounsou as Vicar Imani
- Peter Andersson as Cardinal Mattias Bruun
- Kathleen Robertson as Dr. Richards, Angela's psychiatrist
- John Patrick Amedori as Peter "Pete" Smith, Angela's boyfriend
- Michael Paré as Detective Harris
- Alex Sparrow as Resident Kulik
- Cas Anvar as Dr. Fahti
The Vatican Tapes opened theatrically on July 24, 2015 in 427 venues, earning $832,271 in its first weekend, ranking fifteenth in the United States box office and last among the week's new releases. The film finished its theatrical run four weeks later, on August 20, having grossed $1,784,763 domestically. Overseas, the film made $11,680,747, giving the film a worldwide total of $13,465,510, based on an estimated $13 million budget.
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The film received generally negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 20%, based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 3.99/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A loud, rote exorcism thriller that presents nothing new to an already overpopulated subgenre." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 38 out of 100, based on 12 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews." IGN awarded it a score of 2.5 out of ten, saying "It exists without any real scares or chills, and only the smallest attempt to differentiate itself."
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- "Weekend Box Office Results for July 24-26, 2015". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. July 27, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
- "The Vatican Tapes (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "The Vatican Tapes Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 19, 2018.