The Vatican Tapes

The Vatican Tapes is a 2015 American supernatural horror film directed by Mark Neveldine from a screenplay written by Christopher Borrelli and Michael C. Martin, which is in turn based on a story by Chris Morgan and Christopher Borrelli.

The Vatican Tapes
The Vatican Tapes poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMark Neveldine
Screenplay by
  • Christopher Borrelli
  • Michael C. Martin
Story by
Produced by
CinematographyGerardo Mateo Madrazo
Edited byEric Potter
Music byJoseph Bishara[1]
Distributed by
Release date
  • July 24, 2015 (2015-07-24)
Running time
91 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
  • English
  • Aramaic
Budget$13 million[3]
Box office$13.5 million[4]

The film stars Olivia Taylor Dudley, Michael Peña, Dougray Scott, Djimon Hounsou, Peter Andersson, Kathleen Robertson, and John Patrick Amedori, and was released on July 24, 2015, by Lionsgate.


In the Vatican, Vicar Imani (Djimon Hounsou) shows Cardinal Bruun (Peter Andersson) the case of Angela Holmes (Olivia Taylor Dudley), a young American woman who is suspected of harboring an evil spirit.

Two months earlier in the United States, Angela is given a surprise birthday party by her father, Roger (Dougray Scott), and boyfriend, Peter "Pete" Smith (John Patrick Amedori). She accidentally cuts herself and is rushed to the hospital, where she briefly meets Father Lozano (Michael Peña). She is injected with a serum that causes an infection; at home, she experiences a seizure and is placed under care at a hospital. A few days later, she is released, but in the taxi on the way home, she violently grabs the wheel, causing an accident that puts her in a coma for 40 days. Just as her life support is about to be switched off, she comes round, seemingly in perfect health.

However, Angela begins to show symptoms of demonic possession when she almost drowns a baby, followed by forcing a detective to commit suicide. Lozano sends her to a psychiatric hospital. A distraught Roger confesses that Angela's mother was a prostitute; she is pregnant just a few months after Roger met her but abandoned the baby at birth leaving Angela to be raised by Roger. Angela's possession becomes worse; she taunts her psychiatrist, Dr. Richards (Kathleen Robertson), eventually culminating in her speaking in Aramaic that induces hysteria and mass suicide in her fellow patients. Deciding that nothing can save her, the hospital releases her.

The movie returns to present day. Bruun concludes that Angela is possessed by the Antichrist due to the presence of the ravens around her, which are agents of Satan, and instructs Imani to stay back while he heads to the United States to cure her. An exorcism he plans involves a Eucharist, where Angela reacts by vomiting blood and spitting three eggs, meant to symbolize a perverted Trinity. Bruun also comments that her birth from a prostitute perverts the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. Bruun then realizes that the Antichrist is already a part of Angela; killing him would mean Angela's death as well. Just after Bruun kills Angela, she rises up as the resurrected Antichrist, mirroring the Resurrection of Jesus, and kills Bruun, Roger, and Pete. She spares Lozano and tells him to inform the Vatican that the Antichrist is roaming the Earth.

Three months later, Lozano, having been released from the hospital, visits the Vatican and is allowed access to the archives by Imani. He is shown footage of what has happened since: Angela returns as the only "survivor" of the exorcism besides Lozano and is now performing miracles to gather followers. The film ends with her entering a large arena to greet her followers by stretching out her arms.



Principal photography began in July 2013 in Los Angeles.[6][7]


Box officeEdit

The Vatican Tapes opened theatrically on July 24, 2015 in 427 venues, earning $832,271 in its first weekend, ranking fifteenth in the United States box office and last among the week's new releases.[8] The film finished its theatrical run four weeks later, on August 20, having grossed $1,784,763 domestically. Overseas, the film made $11,680,747, giving the film a worldwide total of $13,465,510,[4] based on an estimated $13 million budget.[3]

Critical receptionEdit

The film received generally negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 20%, based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 3.99/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A loud, rote exorcism thriller that presents nothing new to an already overpopulated subgenre."[9] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 38 out of 100, based on 12 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews."[10] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.[11] IGN awarded it a score of 2.5 out of ten, saying "It exists without any real scares or chills, and only the smallest attempt to differentiate itself."[12]


  1. ^ "Joseph Bishara Scoring The Vatican Tapes". Film Music Reporter. June 20, 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  2. ^ "THE VATICAN TAPES (15)". British Board of Film Classification. August 28, 2015. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "The Vatican Tapes". Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "The Vatican Tapes (2015) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. November 16, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  5. ^ "Michael Pena Joins Thriller The Vatican Tapes". June 28, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  6. ^ "The thriller The Vatican Tapes, filming in Eagle Rock". July 16, 2013. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  7. ^ "The thriller The Vatican Tapes will be filmed in Los Angeles". July 23, 2013. Archived from the original on February 23, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  8. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for July 24-26, 2015". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. July 27, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  9. ^ "The Vatican Tapes (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  10. ^ "The Vatican Tapes Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  11. ^ Tom, Brueggemann (July 26, 2015). "Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong". IndieWire. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  12. ^ IGN[dead link]

External linksEdit