It seems that “The Rite” has some possessive power over movie theater figures too. During its debut weekend, the loosely based-on-true-story horror film was ranked No. 1 at the box office, taking in $15 million.
But the film fared poorly in the critical reviews department. “The Rite” received a 17 percent on rottentomatoes.com from critics, whereas 54 percent of the audience liked the film.
“Horror fans may be disappointed by this handsome exorcism drama, which aspires to the serious religious feeling of William Friedkin’s ‘The Exorcist’ but delivers little of its shock or gore,” wrote critic Andrea Gronvall of Chicago Reader.
“The Rite” is loosely based on a nonfiction book by American journalist Matthew Baglio. Inspired by true events, the movie follows a skeptical seminary student Michael Kovack (Colin O’Donoghue) to the Vatican where he will attend exorcism school. It is there in Rome that the character meets aging priest Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins), who introduces him to the dark spiritual world around them.
The supernatural thriller “The Rite,” which opened in theaters on Jan. 28, is directed by Mikael Hafsroem, who previously made the Stephen King adaptation of “1408.”