Exorcism flick The Rite may lack spewed pea soup, but it does have Anthony Hopkins doing his thing, and doing it well. It seems to have become fashionable to trash the bulk of his latter day output, but I'm content to feast on these morsels in anticipation of the next pleasant surprise, such as the excellent thriller Fracture. Somewhat similar in tone to The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Rite, directed by Mikael Håfström, who helmed the so-so adaptation of Stephen King's 1408, is one of those movies that easily sets itself apart from the baser majority of horror films while, at the same time, failing to ever be truly compelling. It's set in Rome with Hopkins as a veteran exorcist who's given an apprentice of sorts — an American seminary student (Colin O'Donoghue) who is coming down with a bout of atheism. The church has decreed more exorcists are needed, and the student's mentor decides a tour of duty with the exorcist will cure what ails him. The movie offers two exorcisms, the first centering on several sequences with a young girl who contorts and gets fiesty, and the second serving as a twisty curveball in the movie's closing stretch and the ultimate test of the student's doubt. Neither takes us anywhere we haven't been before, but it pushes some of the right buttons over the course of its too-long 120-plus minutes, and Hopkins, as always, is worthy of our faith.
The Rite is available now on Blu-Ray, DVD and pay per view.