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The Pope's Exorcist: Russell Crowe's True(-ish) Horror Story

3/17/2023 • 4 min read

Singer Tom Waits has a funny bit where he talks about someone leaning over during a movie to say "you know this is a true story." Does knowing that really improve the movie, Waits wonders. THE POPE'S EXORCIST is, ostensibly, a true story, as it is based on the life and writings of Father Gabriele Amorth who did, indeed, work as the exorcist to the Diocese of Rome beginning in 1986.

Russell Crowe stars as Amorth in the movie, and while the overall story is certainly based on Amorth's account of his work, looking at the trailer we suspect that a few things have been embellished or perhaps even made up. Here's everything we know about THE POPE'S EXORCIST, with the disclaimer that we're not going to attempt to sort fact from fiction.

The Pope's Exorcist | Cinemark

When Does The Pope's Exorcist Open?

Sony will release THE POPE'S EXORCIST exclusively in movie theatres on April 14, setting it up as an Easter Weekend movie.






Watch the First Trailer for The Pope's Exorcist





Russell Crowe doesn't do as many movies as we'd like to see him make at this point, so when he shows up it's a treat. He's got a star quality that few others can claim. And to see Crowe in an explicit genre movie is very cool — he's great at horror, action, and other genre-leaning stories.

This trailer gives us the general outline of the story but more importantly it showcases Crowe's strength of presence. There are a lot of exorcism movies, but we believe that Crowe and the filmmakers will tap into a different angle here.

The Filmmaker Behind The Pope's Exorcist

THE POPE'S EXORCIST is directed by Julius Avery, the Australian filmmaker who made another horror story mixed with a (very slight) bit of truth. That was OVERLORD, the story of a US paratrooper squad dropped into France to destroy Nazi radio operations prior to D-Day. There, they find monstrous experiments which create inhuman soldiers. Admittedly, the "true story" part of this movie is basically that World War II happened. Still, it's a fun idea!

For THE POPE'S EXORCIST, Avery worked from a script credited to Michael Petroni and Evan Spiliotopoulos. The script is based on two of Amorth's memoirs, "An Exorcist Tells His Story," and "An Exorcist: More Stories."

How True Is the Story in The Pope's Exorcist?

At this point, we don't know how much truth is in the movie. Crowe's character was a real person who did perform exorcisms. Whether any of those exorcisms actually resulted in encounters with demons is, well, difficult to pin down.

Furthermore, since we haven't seen this movie yet, we can't predict how deep it dives into the supernatural. The trailer suggests that we should expect a horror movie — which is to say, something mostly fictional — but maybe there will be more than a smattering of truth in it, too.




THE POPE'S EXORCIST opens on April 14.




All images courtesy of Sony Pictures.

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