Russell Crowe’s “The Pope’s Exorcist” Trailer Drops, Generating Backlash on Social Media

CNA, 2013 Interview / Sony Pictures, Fair Use / ChurchPOP

Sony Pictures released the trailer for the upcoming film about Father Gabriele Amorth.

The film entitled “The Pope’s Exorcist,” follows the life of Rome’s former chief exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth.

Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe will portray Father Amorth.

Father Amorth was Rome’s chief exorcist from 1986 until his death in 2016 at age 91. As of 2013, he reportedly performed approximately 160,000 exorcisms during his career.

In 1990, the Italian priest co-founded the International Association of Exorcists. The organization now has several hundred members.

Father Amorth spoke about the many ways in which the demonic affects the world, including attacks on politicians and the family.

He also said invoking St. John Paul II is a powerful weapon against the demonic, explained that “ISIS is Satan,” and discussed St. Padre Pio’s battles with demons. He personally knew Padre Pio for 26 years before the saint’s death.

Sony Pictures said they based “The Pope’s Exorcist” on Father Amorth’s writings, including his exorcism accounts.

According to the movie’s official website, they based the film’s story on Father Amorth’s books, including “Fr. Gabriele Amorth: An Exorcist Tells His Story” and “An Exorcist: More Stories.”

Australian screenwriter and director Julius Avery, who directed the project, obtained licensing from Loyola Productions and producer Michael Patrick Kaczmarek of Jesus & Mary.

Watch the trailer below: (warning – disturbing images)

Click here if you cannot see the video above.

In another video, actor Russell Crowe describes his role playing the late exorcist:

Click here if you cannot see the post above.

Father John Hogan, OCDS, a co-host of EWTN’s ‘Forgotten Heritage’, criticized the trailer. 

He said it “doesn’t look great at all as a horror movie,” and has a “half-credible representation of an exorcist’s ministry.”

Here’s Father Hogan’s post below:

Click here if you cannot see the post above.

The post reads, “Most exorcist movies disappoint; so far only Friedkin’s ‘The Exorcist’ itself holds up, for the most part,” Father Hogan tweeted. “Looking at this trailer, this latest offering doesn’t look great at all as a horror movie, never mind as a half-credible representation of an exorcist’s ministry. We’ll see.”

Many users expressed similar concerns about the movie.

Here’s how some users responded:

User Josh Becknell said, “I’ve read the books by Father Amorth, which are harrowing, but [it always] brings one back to the mercy of God. They are also a means to show God exists by the very real manifestations of God’s enemy. But this trailer looks like garbage, to be frank.”

Twitter user Teresa Piccola also said, “Ugh, I cringe at this stuff. It’s so over-the-top Hollywood. While I am sure there are some extreme cases, exorcism doesn’t normally look like this. I think this sensationalism is what causes many to not believe.”

This user added, “Oh gosh that looks really bad! Just looking at the trailer, it really looks like the worst possible combination: absolutely ridiculous, [over-the-top] hokum (as we’ve come to expect when Hollywood touches this subject matter) and takes itself seriously.”

“The Pope’s Exorcist” hits theaters April 14.

What do you think of the trailer?

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[See also: Why Satan Is So Scared of St. John Paul II, According to Rome’s Chief Exorcist]

[See also: Satan Loves to Take Over Politicians, Says Roman Exorcist]

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Jacqueline Burkepile is the editor for the English edition of ChurchPOP. She is a journalist, former university campus minister, and a wife and mother. You can follow her posts on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.

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