The Vatican Tapes Blu-ray Review
“The Vatican Tapes” tells the wrong story.
If you’ve ever seen a possession film, the story of “The Vatican Tapes” should come as no surprise. The film revolves around a young woman (Angela) whose surprise birthday party is interrupted by a nasty cut. From here on out, Angela’s life descends into chaos as she begins to act strangely (to say the least). She drinks a large amount of water, falls into a deathly coma, controls people, reads minds, and so on. With Angela’s situation getting worse by the day, it’s up to a Cardinal from Vatican City, a Priest, and Angela’s boyfriend and father to try to help her, but will they be able to?
When it comes to the possession film horror subgenre, there are not a lot of surprises. Once you’ve seen one, you’ve really seen them all as they all tend to follow the same structure and story beats. This certainly applies to “The Vatican Tapes” which feels like old hat. Aside from the ending (which I’ll get to in a bit), the film is riddled with predictable moments, an overall lack of scares and thrills, and groan inducing found footage elements involving a camcorder and security cameras. It doesn’t help that actress Olivia Taylor Dudley is completely unconvincing and over-the-top as the possessed Angela. Her corny performance truly makes you appreciate the talents of someone like Linda Blair who made you believe her character was possessed.
Perhaps the most baffling element is that big names like Michael Peña and Djimon Hounsou somehow agreed to be in this. Their talents are entirely wasted here as they have very little to do on screen.
Going back to the ending of the film, it is the ONLY part of the film that is remotely intrigues. I won’t say what happens, but the turn of events makes you wonder why the filmmakers didn’t tell that story instead. It would have been a far more effective and dramatic story instead of the slapped together possession tale we get.
Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? An all-around solid transfer despite some weak cinematography.
Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Aside from the the action-horror moments, the track is a little soft.
* Lionsgate trailers.
* Digital copy.
* 13 ½ minutes of deleted scenes.
* 14 ½ minutes of extended scenes.
* “Tale of the Tapes”- A featurette that contains film clips, interviews, discussions about the project, etc.
* Commentary by Mark Neveldine, Gerardo Mateo Madrazo and Olivia Taylor Dudley.
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