the pope's exorcist - religious horror
The Pope's Exorcist (2023) (Image via IMDb)

The Pope’s Exorcist is a religious horror movie inspired by the actual documents and files of Father Gabriele Amorth, Chief Exorcist of the Vatican. Academy Award winner Russell Crowe plays the character of Father Gabriele. The religious horror is a chilling mystery as it unwraps itself into some horrific realities.

the pope's exorcist religious horror
The Spanish abbey where Henry was possessed and where the hidden Vatican secrets are unraveled. (Image via Sony Pictures)

In the recent past, there has been significant growth in religious horror movies. This might be a result of reinstating religious institutions. But in this article, we will try to examine what the movie we are discussing in particular is trying to justify.

What is the Pope’s personal exorcist doing in a Spanish abbey?

the pope's exorcist - religious horror
The Pope’s exorcist when he is almost possessed by the devil yet he chooses to defend himself with his faith. (Image via Sony Pictures)
  • The Pope’s exorcist is seemingly a well-known man who has performed over 100,000 exorcisms in his lifetime. It is therefore an intriguing question as to what he might be possibly doing in an abbey somewhere in rural Spain to rescue a boy named Henry.
  • The call for the Pope’s exorcist was actually made by the possessed boy, or we can say the Devil himself. This marks an interesting pattern of the Devil calling for the priest, a power that is not only diabolical in nature but also mysterious.
  • The Spanish village and the particular demon resulted from a deep underground secret hidden by the Church.
  • The demon belongs to an exorcist who was also a founder of the Spanish Inquisition. This led him to do many evils and thus ended up being sealed off deep underground. He unravels this secret during the course of the investigation and a series of secrets thus unravels.

The Pope’s Exorcist: an attempt at justifying the authority of the Church

the pope's exorcist. religious horror
Henry being possessed by the Asmodeus, the demon. (Image via Sony Pictures)
  • The Pope’s Exorcist is an attempt at trying to justify the authority of the Church over all supernatural elements. In the modernist age of technological advancement, people are slowly deviating from the age-old religious institutions. This is seen as a threat by most of the foundational religious institutions across the globe.
  • As cinema becomes a medium to shape people’s ideas, it is often used to shape aspirations based on the likes of an elite section of people.
  • Therefore, The Pope’s Exorcist comes as a release that just caters to this need to validate the authority of a religious institution and justify the existence of God by portraying the existence of the Devil.

Is The Pope’s Exorcist a good movie to watch?

the pope's exorcist - religious horror
The underground tunnel which unravels a lot of secrets about the Church’s prior involvement with the demon Asmodeus. (Image via Sony Pictures)
  • The Pope’s Exorcist is a movie that doesn’t add much to the already existing subgenre of exorcism in horror. What it adds is building suspense and a slight deviation from the traditional narrative. But this has a captivating sense to it as it investigates a case altogether.
  • Moreover, the comedy in the movie and also the comedy of the Devil in the movie is something that is rarely seen.


The recent release of The Pope’s Exorcist has brought in a tide of excitement and critique. we can choose to simply leave it as an exorcism horror or we can analyze it as a religious horror. Whatever we do, we must understand that the movie only caters to mainstream ideas and beliefs. It is an extension of what mainstream society wants the rest of the people to believe in. It is a metanarrative created to simply justify the authority of the Church and the existence of God.

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