The maker of 'The Exorcist' documents a real Catholic exorcism in this 2017 release.
William Friedkin, director of the iconic film The Exorcist, released a second film on the subject of demonic possession in 2017, The Devil and Father Amorth. Unlike his 1973 classic adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s novel, however, The Devil and Father Amorth is a documentary, which records a real Catholic exorcism performed by the late Fr. Gabriel Amorth, who served as the exorcist of the Diocese of Rome for over 30 years until his death in 2016.
The Devil and Father Amorth came as the culmination of decades of requests from the filmmaker to attend one of Fr. Amorth’s exorcisms. Friedkin, in his role as the host of the documentary, noted that Fr. Amorth considered The Exorcist to be his favorite movie, because it raised awareness to his work, even if it wasn’t completely accurate. Although the director had struck up a friendship with the humble priest, it was not until 2015 that he was invited to bear witness to Fr. Amorth’s work.
The documentary follows the case of an Italian woman named Cristina as she received her ninth exorcism from Fr. Amorth. The film shows her dramatic spiritual procedure, during which she screams in an inhuman voice and thrashes against several strong looking men who struggle to keep her in place. The exorcism lasts for nearly 20 minutes and may leave viewers with the same sheen of sweat that’s shown on the brows of the men holding Cristina down.
In order to bring an impartial examination of Cristina’s case, Friedkin speaks to a wide range of experts on both spiritual affliction and mental disease.
On the spiritual side, Friedkin’s list of interviewees included Jeffrey Burton Russell, author of Prince of Darkness, and Bishop Robert Barron. Russell was absolutely chilling as he warned Friedkin not to get too close to the subject of demonic possession, for fear that he might leave himself vulnerable to such evil. Bishop Barron explained that not just anyone can be an exorcist, a job that must not be taken lightly.
The Devil and Father Amorth is now available to stream on Netflix. Please note that the film is not rated and may not be suitable for young audiences.