Inspiration is a wonderful thing to have as a movie buff. Word-of-mouth,media buzz,blind buys,tips from smart video store people (hi Ashley!). But for “The Crucifixion”,it came via a picture on InstaGram. A fellow critic had gotten a copy from Lionsgate and posted the cover.
Now I had seen the movie at Family Video but passed because I thought it was a real low budget tired possession movie and it didn’t grab my attention…..until I saw the cover.
When I visited the video store on Christmas Day,I saw it there for only a buck and decided to take a leap. I knew zero about any of the people attached to it despite it saying it had the producer of “Annabelle” and the writers of the “The Conjuring” behind it. I fired some popcorn and green tea and away we went…
The film is based on a real story in Romania in 2004 and that is where we start.
Father Dimitru has been arrested along with four nuns for murder after a fifth nun died during a exorcism. Sister Adelina was supposedly possessed by a demon and the Father had her tied to a cross where she died after 3 days with no food or water.
In Great Britain,a young journalist named Nicole Rawlins (Sophie Cookson) lobbies her editor (and uncle) Frank to let her cover the story. Frank,knowing Nicole’s mom has recently died and has a chip on her shoulder regarding faith,isn’t so keen to the idea but finally agrees to let Nicole go.
Nicole then travels to the jail and interviews Father Dimitru about what happened,the film shows the story in a flashback segment and it shows Sister Adelina looking like she is completely possessed. Father Dimitru also says that Nicole was sent by God to help him and the nuns. Nicole stays silent and leaves.
She then travels to the little village where she gets a hotel room and starts her investigation. She tries to talk with the family of the dead nun but she is rebuffed,the family doesn’t want their sister’s story smeared by the press.
Nicole then heads where the actual exorcism took place but is found and the Bishop angrily escorts her off the property,she is running into walls every where in trying to find out the truth.
She then appeals to Adelina’s family again and assures them she only wants the truth in what happened to Adelina and the family along with another nun,Sister Vaduva (Brittany Ashworth) agree to help Nicole.
Even the Bishop also relents and shares with Nicole that Father Dimitru was a vastly under trained priest that the church had to use because after Russia broke apart,churches were allowed in many former nations and there wasn’t enough priests.
Father Dimitru far too often used exorcisms on cases that hadn’t been officially been called cases of possession. Thus one of the reasons why he was locked up.
Nicole also befriends another priest,Father Anton (Corneliu Ulici) who helps Nicole during her investigation.
But when Nicole starts seeing and sensing different manifestations of her own,she doesn’t know just how dangerously close she,herself is to becoming part of her story and not in a good way. Can she be saved before her own soul is lost by the evil that surrounds the village?
Did the cheetah and I like “The Crucifixion”? We sure did,this was a very pleasant surprise all the way around. Well written,good jump scares that fit the story and some very unsettling visual effects make “The Crucifixion” stand out among a sea of boring possession films.
What really stands out are two things,the locations where the film was shot,Romania,were outstanding. Watching Nicole being the only person driving a car through the village was eerie,it was like she was trapped in time of the past. She doesn’t understand the customs,way of life and you can understand why the villagers,while social,aren’t in a hurry to interact with someone like Nicole.
The story by Carey and Chad Hayes is smart and makes sense,it doesn’t talk down to the audience. They also know when its time to start to scare as well. It’s very creepy and effective as they slowly have Nicole being worn down and open for any possible supernatural attacks. Taking the time to establish a credible back story does wonders for films like this yet it rarely done as most directors/scripts just want to get the scares going early. Another bright spot is this film is self contained,there are no cheap endings where a sequel is implied,the story the Hayes brothers wanted to tell is told and ended.
The acting is also above average and while Sophie Cookson (Kingsmen series) is the biggest name in the cast,the rest of the mostly Romanian actors are top notch,Uliciu is actor I like to see again,his Father Anton is well played and if one didn’t know any better,you would think he really was a priest.
“The Crucifixion” is a Grindstone/Lionsgate release and is rated “R”. The run time is 91 minutes and it only contains a small interview with director Xavier Gens for its special features.
The cheetah and I both give our last film review of 2018 a thumbs/two paws straight up.
The cheetah and I watched 281 films (plus a handful of short films) in 2018 and if you like to see what we watched,you can go here and see our list.
What was your favorite movie of 2018? Leave it in the comments below so we can check it out as well!