Fun fact: almost every film ever made has the world ‘Resurrection’ in the title. I’m not sure how this one stacks up against the others but as a standalone film with ‘Resurrection’ in the title, well here goes.
What could possibly go wrong in a tale about Yellow Fever and the Catholic Church though, eh?
A young priest travels to Buenos Aires in order to help sick people during the 1871 yellow fever epidemic.
Wikipedia is not going to be very helpful in this situation which is a real shame as I didn’t follow this film very closely at all. This might be more a reflection on me than the film but still. I never usually have trouble following subtitles, in fact some of my favourite films are heavy on the dialogue/subtitle action.
So a small Disclaimer before we begin: some of this I might have made up as I fill in the blanks. Sorry.
Anyway, it’s 1871 and shit is going down. Going down in the form of a terrible epidemic that is killing people left, right and center. Yellow fever is a bitch, yo and modern medicine doesn’t exist yet. The church are doing what they can in terms of saving souls before the victims pass but it’s a thankless task.
One priest in particular, a young and dynamic hottie (not even named on IMDB but played by Martin Slipak) has been haunted by visions relating to the sickness (and a very grisly scene in which he self-harms with a crucifix that looks like Batman’s Batarangs). He’s eager to get stuck in and save some souls too but decides to stop off at the family’s home in Buenos Aires first on his way to London.
On entering the grounds of the once quite grand estate, it immediately becomes clear that things are not rosy at all. The servants are in the midst of looting the last few bits and running off into the sunset, and one of them, not recognising our priest who he’s known since he was a child, tells him to get the fuck away if he knows what’s good for him (to paraphrase).
Ignoring this sage advice, Hot Priest (or HP) is alarmed to find his sister-in-law Lucia in a very bad way in the main residence. Obviously not herself, she tries to ward him off with a shot gun. Her daughter, Remedia (or something) is at least happy to see her uncle, begging him to get her out of the house, where they’ve been hiding out for some time.
Next HP goes looking for his brother in another building on the grounds. The man servant that looks like Lovejoy (e.g. also hot) warns that he’s not at his best. On the way in to see his bro, HP grapples with a healer whom he believes is only interested in taking advantage of the situation and possibly also robbing his brother. He kicks him out.
Upstairs, HP finds his brother and the scene is so much worst that any of us could have anticipated. There is a lot of black blood puke going on and if I’m honest, I was quite tempted to switch off at this point. I don’t do puke in film, I’m afraid. Bro begs HP to bring back the healer but he refuses, saying he’s a con man and bro passes away painfully and grossly mere moments later.
Not before he hands over a secret notebook to HP though. Could this hold the key to what’s going, beyond your common-or-garden plague? Like, why aren’t the family together in their hour of need, hmmm?
HP doesn’t immediately read the notebook as most people would so it’s no surprise later, when his brother’s body is being burnt in the yard to prevent the spread of disease, that it is disposed of too. By ‘accident’.
I was tickled in this scene as HP tells Lovejoy not to burn anything until he tells him to, only to return to a mighty blaze that LJ swears was ‘accidentally’ started when he dropped his torch. Right. We’re watching you Lovejoy! Who, incidentally, is the only servant who hasn’t abandoned ship yet. Why?
So, I won’t go into every little element of the movie to spoil it. And also because I couldn’t tell you really. Something evil is in the home and this is more than a sickness, which predictably HP seems to have contracted. HP has answered a call whether he understands what that is or not, and something sinister this way comes.
What I will tell you is what I liked about this movie. I love the way it looks. At points the production values are very high indeed. The estate is stunning, the costuming is spot on and the fact it’s Argentinian on a superficial level adds a certain sophistication to proceedings.
However. It’s just not all that. The acting for the most part is atrocious and it commits the biggest cardinal sin of all, something that can never be overlooked: it’s boring.
I do find that most demonic/exorcism stories are very samey, unless they’re incredible, which they seldom are.
I think it doesn’t help either that its director has been compared to Guillermo Del Toro more than once. This lead me in with high expectations and I can assure you this lacks the beating heart of a DT piece, even his lesser loved works.
We do find out more about the motivations of the family, particularly HP’s brother, and we learn that the healer, and subsequently Lovejoy may have waaaay more to do with the story that we originally believed.
It’s a sad tale to be honest and I just wish I cared more.
2/5. Dull as dirty dishwater. Shame.
What did my favourite Jillian make of Hot Priest and his demon bothering adventures? Only one way to find out, obvs.