Is The Exorcism with Russell Crowe based on a true story?

Russell Crowe is at the center of another exorcism-focused horror movie, but is this one based on a true story?
The Exorcism - Fred Norris/Lightsavior Productions, LLC
The Exorcism - Fred Norris/Lightsavior Productions, LLC /

Russell Crowe stars in another exorcism-centered horror movie this June, fittingly titled The Exorcism. This one has a meta movie-within-a-movie twist, as Crowe plays struggling actor Anthony Miller, who begins unraveling on the set of his new horror movie, leading his daughter (Ryan Simpkins) to worry darker forces might be at work.

Many exorcism-themed movies take inspiration from true stories (though the veracity of these "true" stories is another matter entirely), but that's not the case with The Exorcism, which is based on a script written by M. A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller, the same duo behind the 2015 slasher comedy The Final Girls.

It's easy to see why audiences might think Crowe's latest is inspired by a true story, though, because he starred in a different exorcism-themed movie in 2023 that was based on a real person. In The Pope's Exorcist, Crowe played Father Gabriele Amorth, a real Catholic priest and exorcist for the Diocese of Rome. The 2023 film pulled from Amorth's books An Exorcist Tells His Story and An Exorcist: More Stories.

Father Gabriele Amorth (Russell Crowe) in Screen Gems’ THE POPE’S EXORCIST. /

Exorcism movies that are based on true stories

As mentioned above, while The Exorcism might not be based on a true story, dozens of other horror movies featuring exorcisms and exorcists do have real-life inspiration.

In fact, there's a new one coming out later this summer based on the "Demon House" in Gary, Indiana, otherwise known as the Latoya Ammons case. The Deliverance, from Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels, premieres this August on Netflix.

Other notable exorcism-themed horror films based on true stories include the original 1973 film The Exorcist, which was inspired by Roland Doe's exorcism; The Exorcism of Emily Rose, based on the story of Anneliese Michel, who underwent more than 60 Catholic rites before dying from malnutrition; The Conjuring franchise; and The Amityville Horror.

The Exorcism is now playing in theaters nationwide and will be on Shudder at a later date. To stay up to date on thrillers, sci-fi, and horror, bookmark 1428 Elm and follow our Facebook page and Twitter account!

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