The Vatican Tapes is a horror film directed by Mark Neveldine who some may know as the director of Gamer (2009). This film stars Michael Peña, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Djimon Hounsou and Kathleen Robertson. The film is a story about two Vatican exorcists who travel to America to battle the devil which is possessing a young woman.
The film starts off quite strongly with the opening scene really setting you up for something great, but it slowly goes downhill from there. It’s always a fairly interesting watching these discussions about God, the devil and the Antichrist coming to Earth and it can get scary, which is why the opening scenes in this film are the best in the film. But everything after the opening few moments until the end of the film are a bit hit and miss, some are great and other parts are poorly presented.
In terms of the acting in this film you get a really good performance from Olivia Taylor Dudley who was actually rather impressive as the possessed woman everyone is trying to be careful of. Michael Peña was alright, but for some reason he just looks comedic and the film is supposed to be serious so I’m not sure if he was miscast or not for the role. Other actors are all forgettable and some don’t perform well on screen which kind of breaks the immersion of this horror film.
The directing from Mark Neveldine was okay, but his previous film, Gamer (2009) was far better than what this was, i’m not sure if it’s the budget or the storyline but things just didn’t seem to come together. It was almost very good, but comes off a little bit low budget a lot of the time. However there is one solid scene that looks high budget and involves Olivia Taylor Dudley’s character using some powers and it’s impressive. I just wish there was more of the impressive and less of the low budget shots, a balloon popping for a jump scare isn’t that great to be honest.
The storyline creates a lot of the problems for the film, it starts off strong but quickly fades away and gets a bit too far fetched. Towards the end though it recovers and we do get a strong ending with things getting interesting. In some ways I would have liked to see the film that the ending was leading into as it’s something I’ve not seen done before and I’ve seen quite a few exorcism/devil stories by now.
Overall The Vatican Tapes is an average horror film with only a few impressive scenes and a good performance from Olivia Taylor Dudley but there isn’t much else there to compliment it. While at times it can be scary, other times things are a bit silly and I can see people getting bored in the middle section. The film does end strongly though and the best scenes are all there at the end so if you do choose to rent it, I would suggest watching it all the way through to the end.