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The Crucifixion (2017)



When a nun dies after an exorcism, a reporter travels to Romania with hope of disproving the existence of God, but discovers more evil than she could imagine.




Review

The inspired by true events here comes from the Tanacu exorcism - in which a priest and four nuns were convicted of the murder of a fifth nun. Their claim is that she was possessed and was alive when the ambulance took her. This occurred in 2005, in Romania. And to be honest, it does have the events in the movie. My assumption is that the reporter, and everything that occurs with her is fictional.

The Crucifixion is a film of ups and downs. It has what can only be described as a fantastic pedigree behind the camera. It was written by Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes (The Conjuring) and directed by Xavier Gens (Cold Skin). This should immediately inspire excitement.

But it stumbles initially with what it is.

The film opens with the exorcism. It's a well made scene - has understandably similar beats to the exorcism in The Conjuring - and is a visceral, frightening scene. It's not perfect, of course, but it is a solid opening to a scary movie. Then the film plunges into drama for the first two acts. Reporter Nicole Rawlins is dispatched from the New York Sentinal newspaper to cover the events after they occurred, and spends the next hour of the run time investigating, to find the truth. And honestly, it's not bad - but not written as horror.

In order to elevate the film from drama to horror, director Gens has relied woefully on LOUD NOISES ARE SCARY for a good portion of the film, tacking on jump scare after jump scare. Which is a shame as it truly detracts from what could have been an interesting watch.




Tonally, this impacts the film badly, no matter how well it was made.

Leading the cast is Sophie Cookson (Kingsman: The Secret Service) as reporter Rawlins. She does okay work here, and for the most part watchable, but is overshadowed in several scenes by some excellent performances by others. She also seemed a little too young for the role, but that can hardly be laid on her. Supporting is Corneliu Ulici (The Devil Inside) as Father Anton, her compass in Romania, who is able to deliver a fantastic performance.

Sadly, due to the imbalance of the film, the mind has a tendency to wander during some of the slower sections, and it does beg some interesting questions: Why did the paper pay for the trip, car hire, and lodgings when Rawlins reports nothing? There are chickens in the road - the film is set in the middle of the countryside, in Romania. Why does everyone speak perfect English? Why does everyone tell this reporter from the other side of the world everything she wants?

And then there is the climax. It's good, and well made, and it veers back into horror admirably. But it is telegraphed so hard that you will know the ending before you've found the film on Netflix. Before you've wiped the dust off the DVD. Actually, you probably could guess it now.

Anyway. It's well made, Gens does a good job on directing, the film looks gorgeous with his wonderful cinematography and the cast is pretty good. It's not drivel by any means, being far better than The Devil Inside, but it's no The Conjuring either.

So many ups and downs, it lands on watchably average, if light on horror.





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