‘The Pope’s Exorcist’ Trailer Reaction: Campy Horror Gold

Russell Crowe stars as the Vatican’s chief exorcist, Gabriele Amorth, in a battle against evil.

The full version of The Pope’s Exorcist (2023) might be completely serious, but the trailer definitely makes a case for camp.

The trailer for The Pope’s Exorcist was released on February 22, 2023, and it looks amazing. It’s not amazing because it looks scary, but because it looks so over-the-top that the movie might be unintentionally hilarious.

Of course, seeing that trailer and thinking it looks campy is entirely subjective. It may be scary to some people, and that’s wonderful. Also, the trailer may not be a very good representation of the tone of the final movie. Trailers are often made by a marketing department with little or no input from the director. But still, the way this particular trailer is put together makes it look like a cross between one of the Conjuring movies and a superhero origin story.

This is not meant to besmirch any of the people involved in the making of the movie. Russell Crowe is a tremendous actor, and he looks like he’s taking the role of Father Gabriele Amorth very seriously. Crowe was completely chilling as a road-rage maniac in Unhinged (2020), and while a role as a priest is very different from that, you can still see some of the same darkness and determination in the few clips we see of him in the trailer for The Pope’s Exorcist. He will definitely carry this movie in fine fashion.

The Pope's Exorcist (2023).
At some point we’re sure to see a typical exorcism scene like most movies of this type have.

However, coming off of his performance as Zeus in Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), it’s difficult not to think about that wonderfully goofy performance when you hear his Italian accent in The Pope’s Exorcist. Speaking of his accent and delivery, the best line in the trailer is “you have a problem with me, you talk to my boss… the Pope.” Three-quarters of that line sounds exactly like a quote from a cheesy mafia movie (and some really good mafia movies, no doubt).

The Pope's Exorcist (2023)
Is this scene actually happening, or is it a vision seen by Father Amorth?

Also, the director of The Pope’s Exorcist, Julius Avery, is great! Avery’s previous two movies as director were Samaritan (2022) starring Sylvester Stallone as a retired superhuman, and Overlord (2018) which is a campy and violent monster/action movie set during World War II. Both of those movies feel like upgraded B-movies, and The Pope’s Exorcist already feels much the same. B-Movies are the best, and that’s why The Pope’s Exorcist could be amazing.

From the quippy demon-possessed boy (“Wrong priest.”), to the underground lair that looks like something out of Shazam (2019), to the demonic superpowers on display, The Pope’s Exorcist will surely be a fun time.

This trailer from Sony Pictures India is different and shows more horrific imagery, but there there is even more silliness going on as well.

The Pope’s Exorcist is inspired by the real-life Gabriele Amorth, a priest who in 2013 claimed to have performed at least 160,000 exorcisms. The film is based on some of Amorth’s experiences.

Franco Nero, Django in the original Django from 1966, plays the Pope.

The Pope’s Exorcist releases in theaters on April 14, 2023. To keep up with this and many more new, upcoming, and recently released horror movies, keep checking our New/Upcoming Horror Movies tracker.

Meet The Author

Chris has a degree in film studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. He is a renowned expert on horror cinema.