The Pope’s Exorcist (2023): Directed by Julius Avery, ‘The Pope’s Exorcist’ is a 2023 supernatural horror film starring Russel Crowe. Based on the books by Father Gabriele Amorth, the film’s screenplay is written by Michael Petroni and Evan Spiliotopoulos. Crowe plays the role of Father Amorth, the chief exorcist for the Vatican, who battles Satan and demons.

The film follows him on an instance of exorcism that reshapes his life, which he devotes to a new mission. Besides him, the film also stars Daniel Zovatto, Alex Essoe, Franco Nero, Laurel Marsden, and Peter DeSouza-Feighoney in the central roles.

Let’s dive right into what happens in this new possession thriller.

*Spoilers Alert*

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The Pope’s Exorcist (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

In 1987, Father Gabriel Amorth (Russel Crowe) rides on his scooter to Tropea, Italy, to treat a local man who is said to be possessed by a demon. Amorth is the Pope’s personal exorcist and has a different way of tackling possessions than others. He first understands whether the family has consulted medical practitioners about this condition. He believes that a person might have psychological troubles with no supernatural link. Amorth would decide to help only if the doctors cannot help a person.

Besides, Amorth believes a little make-believe and theatrics can get the job done. So, for this Italian man, he performs a cleansing of his soul. He says that the soul of the devil has been transferred into a pig’s body and then asks the villagers to shoot the animal dead. This particular instance gets him in trouble with his Church tribunal. They disapprove of the fact that he acted without permission from the church. He hardly had any supporters in the church, and one of his biggest supporters was frail when the tribunal took place.

While bishop Lumumba (Cornell John) isn’t vicious, American Cardinal Sullivan (Ryan O’Grady) is highly skeptical of demonic possession. This young priest claims that there is no need for exorcism in the modern and scientific times they live in. Amorth makes a case for what he believes in. He says that he trusts science and wants most of the victims that come his way to try the methods of medicine before. However, he also believes that 2% of his cases constitute people possessed by demons and evil. Despite the scornful remarks, he walks out of the tribunal.

The Pope later assigns Amorth to visit a young, possessed boy in Spain. Henry (Peter DeSouza-Feighoney) had arrived in Castille with his mother, Julia (Alex Essoe), and his older sister, Amy (Laurel Marsden). After her husband’s death, Julia decided to travel there from America to take charge of an old, mysterious San Sebastian abbey owned by her husband’s family. She planned to renovate it, sell it, and return to the USA with the money. Unfortunately, her plan gets put to a halt when Henry starts acting strangely. It seems even stranger since he had not spoken since his father’s accident.

The medical practitioners can’t help Henry. Meanwhile, he starts threatening both Julia & Amy. The situation keeps getting worse, and soon after, he asks to be put in touch with a priest. So, the Church is eventually contacted, and Father Esquibel approaches him. But the demon who possessed Henry asks for a particular priest. It leads to Father Amorth being asked to investigate this matter. The demon addresses Amorth by his first name and gets pleased with his presence. Amorth realizes that this demon is more powerful than anything he had encountered until then.

Why does the Demon possess Henry?

Henry had witnessed his father’s accident first-hand. That trauma potentially made him vulnerable to being a victim of this demon. He hadn’t spoken since the tragic death, which illustrates how the trauma of its shock and grief still haunts him. The duo of Amorth and Esquibel decide to perform an exorcism by strangling Henry. But the demon mocks Esquibel for his past sins and uses his vulnerabilities to weaken his spirit. It also reminds Amorth of his traumatic past by overpowering his mind.

What are Father Amorth & Father Esquibel’s past traumas?

Amorth was in the Resistance Army against the Nazis when he was fairly young. While he witnessed the deaths of his friends first-hand, he survived by acting dead in front of their enemies. The survivor’s guilt haunts him to that day. That is why he decided to become a priest and walk on the righteous path. However, besides that, there is another incident from his life that haunts him. He had decided not to help a woman named Rosaria (Bianca Bardoe), believing she only had psychological issues. Unfortunately, Rosaria committed suicide, which keeps Amorth remorseful for not practicing exorcism on her.

On the other hand, Esquibel had once fallen in love with a woman named Adella (Carrie Munro) and promised to leave the priesthood for her. But he could not believe he had let his carnal desires get the better of him and left her on her own. As a result, he stayed disloyal to his oath as well as his promise to this woman, and he could not forgive himself despite all the years that passed by since then. The duo mutually confesses their past traumas to absolve themselves from their sinful actions. During the exorcism, they have horrific visions of those they failed.

Father Amorth soon figures out that the way to stop the demon from possessing Henry is to address it by its name. So, he and Esquibel go down to a crypt and walks through the chamber that was underneath the abbey. Amorth sees a Vatican symbol and the seal of the Spanish Inquisition, which unveils a connection to a tragic chapter from the past. The founder of the Spanish Inquisition, an exorcist – Alonso de Ojeda, had convinced the Queen about it, which led to several cruel acts.

The church was believed to be at fault until realizing that Ojeda was also possessed. So the demon in control of Alonso de Ojeda led him and the church to cause suffering. The matter was covered up by the Vatican church, which was in control. The crypt was sealed for years since the demon was incredibly powerful. However, the renovation work of the abbey paved the way for it to get out and to possess Henry. Eventually, Amorth discovers the name of Henry’s demon, Asmodeus. This demon wanted to launch an attack on Heaven. Thus, he wanted to summon Amorth to possess him, find other demons, and unify their army.

The Pope’s Exorcist (2023) Movie Ending, Explained:

How do Father Amorth and Father Esquibel save Henry from the possession?

Besides Henry, Amy also gets possessed by the demon because of her trauma. To protect the two teenagers from this demonic possession, Amorth puts himself as the target. He then fights his battle with Asmodeus by trying different ways to kill himself. He also tries to hang himself to death. But the demon is fixated on his mission and, thus, does not let Amorth succeed in his attempts. He is determined to infiltrate the church and destroy it.

Nevertheless, Esquibel helps Amorth and starts chanting prayers in Latin. The demon cannot overpower them, and it helps the priests drive it away. While their past sins still keep haunting them through horrifying visions, the duo manages to defeat Amosdeus with prayers and holy powers. So, the demon finally gets put back into the abyss. The priests seal the crypt that acts as a passageway between the two words.

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The Pope, who became unwell during the rituals, recovers. Henry and Amy also get recovered. Julia sells off the property of that abbey and returns to the USA, safely, with both her kids. While the issue at this Abbey has been resolved, Amorth understands that there are hundreds of evil sites on the earth. If their seals get opened as the one in Abbey did, it will put them in the same hellish reality. As a result, Amorth and Esquibel consider it their duty and their mission to stop such future attacks. That’s why they decide to work as a team of exorcists.

Related to The Pope’s Exorcist (2023): The Pope’s Exorcist (2023) Review: A Misplaced Buddy-Cop Treatment Given To An Average Exorcist Movie

Watch The Pope’s Exorcist (2023) Trailer

The Pope’s Exorcist (2023) Links: IMDb, Wikipedia, Rotten Tomatoes
The Pope’s Exorcist (2023) Cast: Russel Crowe, Daniel Zovatto, Alex Essoe, Franco Nero, Laurel Marsden
Where to watch The Pope's Exorcist

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