ByJames Wood, writer at
Unabashed Transformers fan. Man crush on Tom Hardy. Avid fan of Tommy Wiseau's cult disasterpiece The Room.
James Wood

I just wasted over an hour of my life watching this rubbish. I rarely use that phrase about wasting my life with a film, it comes across very melodramatic and silly but for once I am going to apply it as The Vatican Tapes made me feel like I wasted my evening when I could’ve been watching some way better. It is cinematic trash, I don’t think I could even apply the word cinematic to it as it feels like a cheap TV movie and also looks like one. Christopher Borrelli’s screenplay is a trainwreck and Mark Neveldine’s direction is the aftermath.

First off, I will bring up the one positive aspect that explains my 1.2 rating. Michael Pena, Djimon Hounsou and Olivia Taylor Dudley seem to be trying their best. The substance they’ve been presented with is painfully weak and dull, I genuinely get the impression they injected whatever life and stylistic touch they could to salvage the atrocity that is the script. Now, to explain why I’ve given this a seriously low rating, because it’s simply one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. To even call it a film is a joke. I reckon this film will be found categorised under straight to DVD and Blu-Ray or found in the depths of Netflix.

The trailer was mildly intriguing, I love demonic and supernatural movies so I thought it would be worth checking out. It had the documentary found footage look and I'm interested in how different directors attack this sub-genre. Mark Neveldine, a director known for his notorious amount of cuts and hyper speed camerawork, should fit well with this genre. The results are catastrophic, his unnecessary cuts between cameras, phone shots and Skype shots collide together at an unholy rate, there is no need to keep swapping. It does nothing for the pace or narrative.

The dialogue is painful, like unbelievably painful. Some of it is so alien and unnatural you begin to wonder if the writers speak a word of English or know how to string a conversation together. There is a scene on a bus where the possessed girl is bitten by a bird, then the bus crashes. They get off the bus and the boyfriend asks "hey are you ok?". In what normal world would a couple just walk away from a crash and stroll off into the sunset happily without a care in the world? This further awfulness continues, the worst scene of all sees Angela get drunk and start rambling random words. John Patrick Amedori, who plays Pete, her boyfriend, reacts to this so badly, his acting is bad and the same is said for Dougray Scott and the remaining cast.

The jump scares are pathetic and laughable, again made more emptier by the lack of atmosphere and fear. This is not a scary film, no moment makes you feel unsettled or on edge. The exorcism scenes are hilarious, cue many eye rolls as they unfold. Taking itself too seriously, The Vatican Tapes messes up in every department, I urge viewers to avoid it at all costs. It gives me confidence knowing that this is the bottom of the barrel, and that it can't get any worse. I could make something way better than this pile of crap, anybody could.


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