This is a film that I would like to see a second time, for enjoyment, due to its complexity, and in order to write a more thorough review. Since I do not have the time to do that, I will share my thoughts as they have come to me twenty-four hours after seeing the film.
Overall, I recommend the movie for all Christians and for the pagans of the general population. It will confirm what Christians are thinking regarding the state of the world and it will, God willing, stir the woke pagans that overrun the world to reconsider the value of their so-called “values.”
One thing this movie does well is present the irrationality and demonic inspiration behind the pagan morality that guides and inspires our present world, most of which falls under the blanket term “wokeness.”
A critique here is that some of the statements from the woke psychologist were a bit cliché and gave the feeling of simply being an easy set up for the demonic character to engage with. This may annoy critical viewers but it does not detract from the resulting dialogue.
The dialogue between the Nefarious and the psychologist was gripping and revealing. When I looked at my watch for the first time during the movie, just over an hour had passed and I could hardly believe it – the movie presented an intellectual engagement that suspended my consideration of time.
A few caveats (spoilers)
There is an execution scene. It is part of the story. It is easy to look away from but they will depict the execution in a slightly disturbing though not grotesque manner.
Skip the 20 minutes of previews and commercials from our pagan culture. Stand outside the door and then go in.
The movie is not spooky or creepy. It did not leave any images that haunted or disturbed me after watching it (and I never watch movies depicting the devil for the purpose of avoiding such things).
Difficult topics are presented, and some are graphically described.
Is it good for older teens? See the YouTube video
The movie could be described as “covert catechesis” in the guise of a gripping psychological thriller. And it is a catechesis that the world desperately needs to hear about.
The demon told the psychologist that he was going to get him to commit three murders by the time he finished his evaluation. The way this played out was quite clever, but I don’t want to give it away, but it all has to do with the wokeness of our pagan world.
Abortion came up and, honestly, in my initial reaction and still a day later, I think this was the most powerful moment in the film. The diabolical quality to abortion was crystal clear and the acting was extremely good during this part. I think the producers could extract this part as a short film later on. It has a stand-alone value but also fits right in with the film.
One of the elements with which I initially had my reservations was regarding the priest character they had in the film. At first, I thought this was a bad decision. The priest who came in was the iconic Jesuit heretic old hippy who did not believe in demons or possession. The resulting dialogue with Nefarious was well done. However, my first thought was that they should have brought in another priest to test the man for possession versus insanity, a priest who actually believed what the Church teaches and could present the prisoner with various sacramentals to see what reaction he gets. I thought that would be more revealing and more engaging for the audience, as well as convey the reality of Our Lord’s power as it works through the Church.
However, after I sat on this for a day, I began to see it differently. It seems that the way they did this highlighted something specific about our culture.
Perhaps one of the warnings within this film is that Christendom, with its power and glory and truth and beauty and goodness, is no longer with us in the wonderful manifestations which it once brought to the world. The power of the Church’s influence over society is all but lost. The Faith is on fire in pockets here and there throughout the world but it no longer wields a formative influence over the nations.
Thus, as the common man tangles with a new (and perhaps final) onslaught of evil, he is largely on his own, due to his separation from Our Lord, and without the resources to understand this evil or escape from its grip and influence. The priest that is brought in to speak to Nefarious is sadly characteristic of the majority of priests out there today.
So, in spite of the initial disappointment at this scene, I later saw it as diagnostic of the culture – the majority of priests don't know or believe what is going on right now regarding the activity of the diabolical and the occult. So, in a situation like the one presented here, the priests will likely not be much help (unless you get a good one by God's great mercy). And this priest was just that – no help – except to give the audience an insight into the demon’s mind by means of his reaction to the heretic priest.
In addition, the average individual of our society is like the psychologist in this film. Similarly, like the psychologist, the average individual does not know how to understand what is playing out before him, not just in the evil of the philosophies of the day but even if they come face to face with clear diabolical manifestations.
The Church is not ubiquitously present in the culture so as to be able to counsel mankind in this journey through this valley of tears. Instead, man is left to fend for himself in the presence of clear and multifarious evil.
I think this is the value of this film. It is a wake-up called to the so-called woke world. It shows what the devil’s plan is to destroy the world. That plan includes abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, transgenderism, the idolatry of the human will, turning every man into a god who determines right and wrong – it includes everything that is enshrined within the occult. All the more reason to make sure you have the proper intellectual tools in your hands: