A trailer for William Friedkin’s documentary The Devil and Father Amorth has been released, giving us a brief look at the rituals surrounding a real-life exorcism. Back in 1973, Friedkin’s supernatural horror film The Exorcist was released, and has since been regarded as one of the greatest, most frightening films of all time. The movie is based on William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel of the same name, which is inspired by the 1949 exorcism of Roland Doe.
The Exorcist was followed by two sequels and two prequels - which didn’t share the same success as Friedkin’s film - as well as a TV series, currently airing on Fox. Now, more than four decades after the film’s release, Friedkin is revisiting the theme of exorcisms, only this time through a documentary showing a real-life exorcism.
Titled The Devil & Father Amorth, the film shows Friedkin’s journey to Italy to meet Father Gabriele Amorth, official exorcist of the Diocese of Rome. The trailer (shown above) begins with Friedkin explaining that, at the time he made The Exorcist, he had “never seen the real thing”, but on May 1, 2016, Father Amorth invited him to witness and film an actual exorcism. In addition to the exorcism - which Friedkin was only allowed to film all by himself - the documentary includes interviews with psychiatrists, neurosurgeons, non-believers, and priests, offering different perspectives on the topic of exorcisms.
Friedkin has previously spoken about the experience of filming a real exorcism, stating he went from “being afraid of what could happen [to] feeling a great deal of empathy with this woman’s pain and suffering." What’s shown in the film is the ninth attempted exorcism of an Italian woman by Father Amorth, who according to Friedkin was “doing exorcisms all day every day” until he passed away in September of 2016.
Exorcisms have been a constant theme in the horror genre, with titles such as The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Deliver Us From Evil, and The Conjuring - to name just a few - exploring this practice through fictional stories. While there have been documentaries exploring the ritual, such as The Exorcist in the 21st Century and Deliver Us, viewers have questioned their authenticity, which is why Friedkin’s documentary states that it presents “what may be the only real exorcism captured on film."
It seems fitting that the director of one of the scariest films of all time took on the chance to film a real exorcism while also researching on the topic with experts in many areas. Ultimately, fans will decide if this documentary enhances the experience of watching The Exorcist or gives a different perspective to it.
The Devil & Father Amorth will be released in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on April 20, followed by a worldwide digital release.
Source: The Orchard Movies