The Crucifixion: Skip it and rewatch The Exorcism of Emily Rose instead


Shudder’s latest exorcism movie, The Crucifixion, is a pale imitation of the far superior films about demonic possession that have come before it.

The Crucifixion is about an exorcism gone wrong. It’s a story we’ve seen told in countless other films, most of them better quality than this one. The Exorcism of Emily Rose is perhaps one of the most obvious comparisons given since both films deal with the real-world repercussions of religious exorcisms leading to death.

Is it murder? Or was it a real demonic possession that ended tragically?

The premise is actually an interesting one. There have been real-life court cases about this exact situation, hence the popularity of Emily Rose, which was based on a true story. The Crucifixion claims to be as well although it doesn’t offer anything new that hasn’t already been covered in similar films.

Crucifixion’s story centers around Nicole Rawlins (Sophie Cookson), an investigative journalist who catches wind of Father Dumitru’s arrest after the violent murder of Adelina Marinescu, a nun at his church.

It was believed that Sister Adelina was possessed by a powerful greater demon named Agares. Her exorcism lasted for three days before Adelina ultimately succumbed to the brutal conditions and died.

Courtesy of Shudder PR

We see this story told through a series of flashbacks, beginning with the initial exorcism and then as we follow Nicole’s journey through Romania to get to the truth of the ritual.

While researching Father Dumitru’s practice and listening to witness testimonies from people who had interacted with the seemingly possessed Adelina, Nicole meets Father Anton.

Anton is a young, charming, and handsome priest. A man Nicole sexually fantasizes about for some reason. The addition of this strange one-sided romance is one of many missteps in a film that is rather directionless overall.

But he plays a pivotal role as an endless source of information for the journalist. It is through him she learns about Agares vacating Adelina’s body to find a new host.

If you’ve watched possession movies before, then you will likely figure out the “twist” The Crucifixion is building to long before it occurs. I’ll give the movie credit for its lush scenery, surprisingly excellent lighting, and cinematography, but everything else about The Crucifixion is as lackluster as the story.

You would think, at the very least, the film might overcompensate with scares since the storyline is so weak, but it doesn’t. A meager handful of frights fill the screen from beginning to end and most are cheap jump scares. Like, the cheapest of cheap jump scares.

Remember that famous video floating around YouTube where a scary woman pops up during the middle of a maze? Yeah. Something like that happens at one point in the film with a totally serious tone.

More from Shudder

Not even the make-up or props offer anything exciting. Bugs crawl from people’s eyes and ears a few times. Dead beetles fill a glass of wine. A lazy effort to create a terrifying atmosphere merely makes the film appear low-budget and cheap.

Overall, The Crucifixion isn’t the worst movie I’ve seen, not by a long shot, but it’s also a wholly lackluster, lazy possession film that you can find better versions of almost anywhere. Demon-themed films, especially about exorcisms, are some of the most overdone in the genre. Unless you have something incredibly interesting or brand new to add, then you’ll almost always be following in the footsteps of bigger and better features.

Next. Shudder’s Beast is an entrancing horror story disguised as a romance. dark

I almost wished the film was told in found-footage, just to add something to make it stand apart (although there have also been plenty of found-footage exorcism films too, so really, they were in a lose-lose situation).

What did you think of The Crucifixion? What are some of your favorite movies about exorcisms?  Do you think it’s a sub-par movie or that I missed something special about it? Break out the holy water in the comments and let me know what you think!

The Crucifixion is currently streaming on Shudder.