As a Christian and fan of The Exorcist, William Friedkin's The Devil and Father Amorth sounds like a fascinating and frightening look at the dark side of faith and belief. Who better to document an actual exorcism than the man who brought us arguably the most significant and influential horror films of the 20th and 21st centuries? Whether or not you think The Exorcist holds up as a film, there's no denying its influence on the genre of horror. Since its release, there have been numerous attempts to recapture the terror it wrought upon its audience when it hit theaters the day after Christmas in 1973.
The trailer for The Devil and Father Amorth makes it very clear that the more you open yourself up and let yourself be exposed to the evils of the world, the more chance you have to be overcome by demons. I am a firm believer in the spiritual world and believe possession is a real thing. This documentary looks to shine a light on a phenomenon long thought to be a hoax or tied to some sort of mental illness.
I think it's important to note that Father Amorth comes across as a rather happy man who shakes his fist in the face of evil. My first impression is that he's a man who's seen incredible and horrific things in his lifetime, but doesn't allow that to tarnish his own faith but strengthen it. I'm excited to see Friedkin tell his story and bring Christianity to the forefront of popular cinema once again.
Years after he changed the landscape of American filmmaking with 1973’s THE EXORCIST, director, co-writer and legendary storyteller William Friedkin moves from fiction to fact with his new documentary, THE DEVIL AND FATHER AMORTH. What began as a brief conversation between Friedkin and Father Gabrielle Amorth – the head Exorcist for the Diocese of Rome for over 30 years – as two professionals who knew of each other’s work soon transformed into an once-in-a- lifetime opportunity, as Amorth agreed Friedkin could film an exorcism ceremony. It would be the ninth exorcism for a painfully afflicted woman, Cristina (a pseudonym), who had already been under Father Amorth’s care – and it would be filmed by Friedkin alone, with no other crew allowed, no light other than the natural light in the room and a small digital camera-and-mic unit that could capture the ritual and its revelations.
Combining the startling and singular footage from Cristina’s exorcism with interviews from priests and psychologists, neurosurgeons and non-believers, Friedkin guides us on a journey into the twilight world between the boundaries of what we know and what we don’t with a singular and startling guide in the form of the urbane, charming and self-deprecatingly funny Father Amorth, a man who laughs in the face of the Devil both figuratively and literally. Combining Friedkin’s past memories and present observations with archival footage and new interviews – as well as also presenting what may be the only real exorcism ceremony captured on film – THE DEVIL AND FATHER AMORTH is a startling and surprising story of the religion, the ritual and the real-world victims involved in possession and exorcism.
The Devil and Father Amorth will be released in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on April 20, 2018.