As Exorcist Vengeance opens A woman lays bleeding in the street as Father Jozsef (Robert Bronzi, The Gardener, Escape from Death Block 13) performs her Last Rites before barking at the onlookers “Which way did he go?” and chasing down the criminal responsible and shooting him even after he’s on the ground, thereby justifying the “Death Wish meets The Exorcist” line in the film’s press release.
Meanwhile, a wealthy old woman Agnes (Elizabeth McNally) starts talking in the voice of the possessed before slitting her throat with a letter opener, something that looks like smoke passing from her to her servant Magda (Anna Liddell, Deadly Waters) as she dies. And it isn’t long before Magda is talking in the same voice and attacking Edna’s granddaughter Rebecca (Sarah Alexandra Marks, Spider in the Attic, Help).
It doesn’t take a genius to guess what happens next. The Vatican orders Bishop Canelo (Steven Berkoff, Fanged Up, A Clockwork Orange) to terminate the demon with extreme prejudice.
The opening minutes of Exorcist Vengeance are surprising as much for the gore they display as anything else. The opening shooting and the throat-cutting are far more gruesome than anything I’ve seen from either co-director Scott Jeffrey (The Mutation, Conjuring the Genie) or Rebecca Matthews (Bats, Witches of Amityville Academy).
The cast is filled out by. Agnes’ children Christine (Nicola Wright, Dragon Fury, The Jack in the Box: Awakening) and Patrick (Simon Furness, Toxica). There’s Christine’s children Nick (Ben Parsons) and Rebecca, as well as Patrick’s daughter Rose (Nicole Nabi, Hatched, The Leprechaun’s Game) which gave me hope there would be a decent body count if nothing else.
Writers Jeff Miller (Inoperable, Dolls) and Matthew B.C.(Medusa) give us a long, rather dull attempt to exorcise Magda with a little bit of blood vomiting in between talking shit about God and Jozsef’s dead wife. Then they suddenly decide that Exorcist Vengeance should be a slasher film and a black robed figure stabs Nick to death with an arrow.
If that doesn’t sound far-fetched enough, Jozsef refuses to let them call the police because the Church wants him to finish his job. And given his rather adversarial relationship with them, and Magda still being tied to a bed upstairs they might get in the way.
I suppose a film like Exorcist Vengeance isn’t really meant to be taken that seriously. It’s a fast moving, bloody bit of entertainment that just keeps getting more and more ridiculous as it goes on. But it would have been nice if the writers had tried to make it all remotely believable. By the time we find out the house used to be a school and guess who went there, demonic possession is the most believable part of the story.
Speaking of ridiculous, the film Exorcist Vengeance reminded me most of was actually Amityville II: The Possession with its cheesy looking demon, gunplay and a couple of scenes that hint at a rather unhealthy relationship between Nick and Rose. But even that film didn’t have anything as over the top stupid as Father Jozsef refusing to leave and beating the shit out of Patrick when he tries to remove him.
While it doesn’t deliver as much death and destruction as I had hoped, the kills are done with fairly good practical effects, something I’m not used to in a film with Scott Jeffrey’s name on it. Hopefully it’s the start of a trend.
If you can take the cheese and turn off, or at least medicate, your brain enough that the film’s everything but the kitchen sink script doesn’t bother you, Exorcist Vengeance is certainly amusing. The scenes of Bronzi stalking through the house, flashlight in one hand, gun in the other are almost worth it by themselves. He must have seen Danny Trejo blasting away at the evil spirits in The Legend of La Llorona and wanted in on the action.
Uncork’d Entertainment will release Exorcist Vengeance on Digital and DVD on Feb 8th. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more details.