Award-winning actor Russell Crowe has starred in a few comedies in his career, but nothing quite compares to his latest movie, The Pope’s Exorcist. The 2023 R-rated horror is more likely to make you laugh than give you any nightmares. If you would like to watch it, you can stream it right now on Netflix.
Russel Crowe stars in The Pope’s Exorcist, which is already available for streaming on Netflix
The movie, which starts with Satan being tricked into possessing a pig, only gets more ridiculous from there. It follows Father Gabriel Amorth (Russell Crowe), the Pope’s personal exorcist, who helps Henry, a young American boy who gets possessed shortly after his family moves into an old Spanish abbey. When trying to exorcise the young boy, Father Amorth ends up discovering a dark secret that the Vatican has been hiding.
The Pope’s Exorcist is based on two books that were written by the real Father Gabriel Amorth, An Exorcist Tells His Story (1990) and An Exorcist: More Stories (1992). Both books captivated audiences with the true stories of exorcisms that Father Amorth experienced during his time in Rome’s ministry. They share how only the power of Christ can stop Satan and relieve mental, spiritual, and physical suffering.
It took a few years and several script revisions for this film to be made after Screen Gems acquired the rights to Father Amorth’s story in 2022. Initially, Ángel Gómez was supposed to direct the film, but later Julius Avery took over. Chester Hastings and R. Dean McCreary wrote the original screen story, and it was later revised multiple times by Michael Petroni, Evan Spiliotopoulos, and Chuck MacLean.
It may seem bizarre, but Russell Crowe is again playing a real figure in The Pope’s Exorcist, which is based on novels written by the actual Father Amorth.
Along with Russell Crowe, The Pope’s Exorcist features several actors who are best known for their performances in horror movies.
Alex Essoe, who plays Julia, the mother of Henry, has been in Midnight Mass, The Haunting of Bly Manor, and Doctor Sleep. Daniel Zovatto, who plays Father Esquible, has been in Don’t Breathe, It Follows, and Fear the Walking Dead. Peter DeSouza-Feighoney made his acting debut as Henry, and he will soon be in three horror movies that sound thoroughly entertaining—Peter Pan’s Neverland Nightmare, The Girl with the Metal Heart, and Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2.
Part of what makes The Pope’s Exorcist more funny than scary is the performance from Russell Crowe. Rather than being a serious and overly religious man, his character has a sense of humor and a more laid-back attitude, waving goodbye and saying “Cuckoo” as he leaves the Vatican, and joking that he and his priest colleague are going to hell. On top of that, the New Zealand actor put on an Italian accent for the film, which some found hilarious and unbelievable.
Russell Crowe elevated what is, on paper, a ridiculous concept, and turned The Pope’s Exorcist into a hit with $75 million at the box office.
To prepare for his role in The Pope’s Exorcist, Russell Crowe researched Father Amorth and even met several of his friends who had accompanied the priest on exorcisms. In his research, Russell Crowe discovered that Father Amorth’s favorite movie was 1973’s The Exorcist. In fact, the director of The Exorcist, William Friedkin, directed The Devil and Father Amorth, a documentary about Amorth’s work.
The Pope’s Exorcist was released in the United States and Canada on April 14, 2023, and had to compete with Renfield, Mafia Mamma, Sweetwater, and Suzume. Surprisingly, it made $3.5 million at the box office on its first day, and then went on to gross $75.7 million worldwide. This was a huge win for all involved since the film’s production budget was only $18 million.
There are plenty of unintentionally funny moments in this movie, like Henry calling his mother a “fat cow” and Father Esquible choking the child during a possessed rant, but there are also some intentional moments of humor. Apparently, this is because the real Father Amorth would bring his sense of humor into an exorcism since the devil hates humor. Whether or not this is true, it certainly helps to make light of an otherwise terrifying situation and makes the movie much funnier.
After the success of The Pope’s Exorcist, it has been confirmed that there will be a sequel. It will most likely follow more stories from Father Amorth’s books, and Russell Crowe is expected to reprise his role. In the meantime, check out the movie on Netflix to enjoy a good laugh.