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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Slight warning about the danger of worshipping false idols, but otherwise the movie's main message is that demon possession is no fun.
Positive Role Models
Aside from the kindness of a priest, there are no role models (and no well-developed characters).
Violence & Scariness
Disturbing images of demon possession. Bloody cuts/wounds. Some dripping blood. A man smashes light bulbs into his own eyes (off screen). Hypodermic needle injections. Bird attacks. Stabbing. Fighting. Falling from heights. Man crushed by falling debris. Man hanging himself. Contorting, dislocating limbs. Stigmata wounds. Spooky stuff and jump scares. A baby is in minor jeopardy.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple kisses; he grabs her bottom. References to oral sex and to a call girl.
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Uses of "ass" and "hell," plus "Jesus."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Vatican Tapes is a demon-possession horror movie. It has lots of jump-scares and spooky images, with some bloody cuts and wounds and dislocated limbs. Birds attack, and people fight with one another and try to hurt themselves (a man smashes light bulbs into his own eyes, his back to the camera). A couple kisses, and he grabs her bottom; there are also references to oral sex and to a call girl. Language is minimal, with a few exclamations and the use of "ass." Director Mark Neveldine has a cult following, which could draw in cinema-savvy teens, but the movie could also spark discussions about the danger of false idols. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Mark Neveldine is known for his loony, kinetic cult movies, but this film, despite its shock ending, can't quite get past the limitations of a genre that peaked with The Exorcist (1973). THE VATICAN TAPES begins with the idea that the Vatican has recorded proof of dozens of possessions, but then settles in on a rather dull example.
Aside from the usual plot mechanics, Neveldine -- working for the first time without his creative partner, Brian Taylor -- throws in a few small, new ideas (like eggs appearing in the victim's mouth), but his usual, enthusiastic style is gone, replaced by a static, grayish approach. The actors appear equally stuck. Poor Dougray Scott, especially, can only repeat the same exasperated lines over and over again, though Pena brings the movie a down-to-earth quality. The ending actually is unexpected, and may win over some horror fans, but the path to get there is sadly worn out.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.