The Rite commits the supreme sin of making the devil dull.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
Is it the devil's work or a psychiatric disorder? That is the spurious debate that sputters along in this dull, pretentiously verbose movie that (need it be said?) enthusiastically takes the devil's side.
Stephen Holden - New York Times
There's nothing wrong with The Rite that spinning heads and a little pea soup wouldn't cure.
Scott Bowles - USA Today
A run-of-the-mill chiller that spends an inordinate amount of time flirting with unconventional scare tactics before sacrificing all of its ingenuity to become the latest in a long line of "The Exorcist" clones.
Sean O'Connell - Washington Post
So many skilled scenery chewers in supporting roles, and they still can't make up for the void in the center that is O'Donoghue.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Director Mikael Hafstrom's foot-dragging pace makes a pretense of intent character study, but Michael's spiritual trials are occluded by Michael Petroni's patchy screenplay.
Nick Pinkerton - Village Voice
Dave Whitehead's sound design fills the production with ominous whooshings that sometimes overwhelm the dialogue, not that the dialogue doesn't deserve it.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Sure, there are cliches (why must possessed characters talk like Darth Vader in a bathtub?), but the film avoids the schlockier pitfalls of outright Exorcist wannabes.
Amy Biancolli - Houston Chronicle
...it fails most crucially in pulling its strings together in a way that's not nearly as impressive as it's straining to be.
Glenn Kenny - MSN Movies
I found myself drawn in. It is sincere. It is not exploitative; a certain amount of screaming, frothing and thrashing comes with the territory.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
For an hour "The Rite," as scripted by Michael Petroni, delivers the expected, but with panache... The supporting cast is unusually strong...
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
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.
Andrea Gronvall - Chicago Reader
As Hopkins himself goes wild-eyed and FX-ed with popping veins, The Rite gives up on asking us to take it seriously.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
A horror film that goes nowhere very, very slowly.
Tom Horgen - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Hafstrom creates a nice, creepy vibe, especially for the first part of the movie, which has a menacing atmosphere.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
A largely low-key, intelligent effort.
Joe Leydon - Variety
Despite an impressive cast (excluding the excruciatingly dull O'Donoghue, a newcomer from Ireland), "The Rite" is the sort of misfire that Hollywood has long buried in January.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
O'Donoghue is so stunningly uncharismatic that he kills whatever possibilities this picture from the director of the silly-scary-smart "1408″ had.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
Starts glumly before flipping into supernatural camp.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
If it's a nonsensical patchwork quilt, it's mostly a watchable one, with supporting performances from Ciaran Hinds and Rutger Hauer (which is a lot of long, gloomy faces for one movie).
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
There are some interesting ideas and themes in The Rite; unfortunately, an uneven tone and a disappointingly generic climax dilute them.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
The Rite becomes more ludicrous as it goes along, with more than a few lines of dialogue from Michael Petroni's over-the-top screenplay eliciting unintended titters.
Frank Scheck - Hollywood Reporter
Anthony Hopkins classes up The Rite, as you can imagine he would most every situation. But even his otherworldly powers can only make this overly familiar demonic possession thriller engaging for so long.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
The Rite is all windup, weak delivery.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
The Rite goes wrong in every way.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
It's one of those films that pretends to take ideas about faith seriously, until it's time for the CGI money shots to kick in.
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly
Though thoroughly predictable, this film is not to be taken too seriously.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
Poor character development, a thin plot and predictability make this one a forgettable film.
Amy Curtis - We Got This Covered
A geniunely creepy film that takes faith and its subject matter seriously.
John Hanlon - Big Hollywood
This is a movie about priests fighting the evil Baal demon. That's not a spiritual journey "suggested by true events." That's a Tenacious D song.
Will Leitch - Deadspin
Although Hopkins shines when his evil-infused priest exhibits low-level nastiness, his climactic exorcism scenes don't ring true and aren't very frightening.
Steve Newton - Georgia Straight
[Hopkins] stumbles through his entire acting range - from lazy, stilted line delivery to balls-out mentalist improvisation.
Matt Looker - TheShiznit.co.uk
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
Dull and overlong at times, but also scary when it needs to be.
R. L. Shaffer - IGN DVD
Hopkins' character approaches his job like a weary pest-control specialist worn down by years and years of driving off a persistent cockroach that just keeps crawling back.
Neil Pond - American Profile
Playing like a chilling short story, an intriguing central relationship between the leads makes up for what it lacks in pace or impact.
James Luxford - The National
Packed with a few good old fashioned jolts, "The Rite" is an atmospheric film that is kept on track by the performance of Anthony Hopkins.
Michael A. Smith - MediaMikes
It takes half-an-hour to bring Hopkins into the fold, and it's only then that the film begins to get anywhere near interesting.
Simon Reynolds - Digital Spy
doesn't completely suck
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
A lousy genre picture...
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
Parades about with a self-seriousness at odds with a second-half dominated by veiny-faced, limb-contorting special effects and screaming, screaming, screaming.
Nick Schager - Lessons of Darkness
As the god-doubting theologian sent to Rome to learn exorcism as a way to conjure up his missing faith, a less charismatic figure couldn't be found.
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
Turning what should be a meditation on faith into a demon-possession flick probably seemed like a safe box office bet, but it also robbed The Rite of the opportunity to rise above what we usually get in movies about exorcisms.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
Predictable and exaggerated, with some minor saving graces
Robert Denerstein - Movie Habit
Since this movie was so exhausting, I took an extra amount of joy in the brief jolts of electricity I saw -- namely the random violence and weird jokes.
Grae Drake - Movies.com
You'll find no swiveling heads or green vomit here, although there are a few scenes that stretch credibility by going in that direction.
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
Despite Hopkins' balmy performance, this scare picture is too serious by half. In place of supernatural hocus-pocus we get artsy-fartsy set design, hoof prints in the snow.
Glenn Lovell - CinemaDope
Hopkins' light touch brightens up this exorcism film, one more concerned with creepy atmosphere than straight-out nastiness.
Matt Soergel - Florida Times-Union
The contents of my iPod are more demonic than anything you'll see here.
Dave White - Movies.com
Could have been put together in a much snappier way, with a hugely convoluted opening certainly not helping The Rite's uneven pace.
Sam Bathe - Fan The Fire
Anthony Hopkins playing someone evil? SHOCKING. He is rather good at this schtick, but the script is flabby and cliche ridden. The young lead looks distractingly like an emo Ken doll too.
Marc Fennell - Triple j
Exorcist fans will be bored, Hopkins devotees will be confused, and Colin O'Donoghue obsessives exist only in the mind of Colin O'Donoghue.
Charlie Lyne - Ultra Culture
Hopkins's hammy display serves The Rite well, if only to warn one and all this enjoyably silly movie is not to be taken all that seriously.
Leigh Paatsch - Herald Sun (Australia)
The Rite is about as scary as watching two kittens fight over possession of a scrunched up piece of paper.
An exorcism movie in which all the scary bits have been exorcised.
Anders Wotzke - Moviedex
The filmmakers have gone with a stock-standard mould that offers nothing new. If there was a surprise... it was just how boring these characters were.
Matthew Toomey - ABC Radio Brisbane
This dreary affair is 'inspired by actual events', but it's a very low-wattage entry into the genre of the exorcist movie.
David Stratton - At the Movies (Australia)
The Rite is devoted alright -- to exorcising all thought with an arsenal of would-be scare tactics.
Peter Galvin - sbs.com.au
It may not convince you of the existence of the devil but, with its true-story twist on a popular cinematic theme, it adequately entertains.
George Palathingal - Sydney Morning Herald
It's the cinematic equivalent of a modest, drab meal; you can eat it, but you probably won't enjoy it. Unless you're a priest and you're used to eating that sort of thing.
Paul Verhoeven - The Vine
Heavy in body yet light in soul, earnest in approach yet dreary in its delivery, it is a film which cannot decide its path, and in turn finds itself walking down the road to obscurity, just like many of its kind before it.
Matthew Pejkovic - FILMINK (Australia)
In The Exorcist - made 38 years ago mind you - we had a possessed little girl saying horrible, unrepeatable things. Here, one of the worst expletives shared by the demon is the phrase "kissy lips". Alright then.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
Hannibal Lector takes on Satan in this well intentioned yet sluggish demonic possession thriller.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
There was a moment here when the film could have taken flight into a fiery showdown between the young priest-turned-atheist and his elders in the Church. If only
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
This exorcism thriller has enough elements to last the distance and offers an unsettling experience
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
No solo no ofrece nada nuevo sobre el tema del exorcismo, sino que ademas posee un involuntario tono parodico (gentileza sobre todo de Anthony Hopkins) que hace imposible tomarsela en serio.
Enrique Buchichio - Uruguay Total
It's a fatuous film with none of the weight and dark energy of The Exorcist.
Gives way to run-of-the-mill possession theatrics.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
Hopkins at least has fun hamming things up, but the film around him simply goes through the motions.
Alistair Harkness - Scotsman
Like many other bang-average exorcism movies, it follows a doubting man of God who rediscovers his faith, sharpish, when faced with a swivel-eyed grunter cracking their limbs and bellowing about Satan.
Robbie Collin - News of the World
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
The Devil may have all the best tunes, but this exorcism thriller won't count as one of his greatest gigs.
Anthony Quinn - Independent
The Vatican will love it. Audiences won't.
Martyn Conterio - Little White Lies
Hopkins' wild ham acting helps raise the deadening atmosphere and prick the mood of pomposity. What he can't do, sadly, is save his co-star.
The Rite is a decently made exorcism thriller with an entertainingly hammy performance from Hopkins, but there are several unintentionally laughable moments and it's ultimately not that different from every other exorcism thriller you've ever seen.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
An effective mix of surprising fact and hard-edged fiction.
Alan Jones - Radio Times
The acting is wooden from almost everyone, a Calvary of stick-figure performances, arms outstretched at moments of martyred or messianic climax.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
This is a dreary metaphysical drama dressed in the vestments of a religious horror movie.
Nigel Floyd - Time Out
The script, especially to start with, is fizzing with good lines.
- Birmingham Post
Hafstrom plays things pretty straight, avoiding the barking implausibility of The Da Vinci Code and questioning the flakey use of unprovable exorcism against cold, hard rationality.
Tim Evans - Sky Movies
The Rite covers similar thematic ground to that trodden recently by the more effective and fun The Last Exorcism.
Catherine Bray - Film4
Hopkins does his thing, and Hallestrom leaves him alone to do it well.
James White - Empire Magazine
Slow and laboured to start with, this sober spooker gets better once it realises its true calling and lets its star off the leash.
Neil Smith - Total Film
Even though it's "inspired by true events", this supernatural thriller feels as generic as its title. The casting adds a zing of interest, and the film is efficiently well-made, but we've seen it all before.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
Anthony Hopkins is the draw as 'Father Hannibal' in 'The Rite,' an average movie about exorcism.
Linda Cook - KWQC-TV (Iowa)
More interested in theology than gut-churning effects, The Rite is a creepy exorcism thriller elevated a bit above the norm for that reliable genre by a classy look and the gravitas of star Anthony Hopkins.
John Hazelton - Screen International
Seeing Hopkins do his deadpan routine is The Rite's primary attraction.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
The direction by Hafstrom delivers sinister atmosphere but few shocks. Hafstrom forgets that "God is in the details.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
Falls about 500 miles short of The Exorcist, right in the crack between a sincere, bland religious drama and a monster fest. No one comes away satisfied.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
A so-called horror movie dull enough to have been produced for the Catholic cable channel.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
The effort is in there to make a movie that's a little bit more than so much boilerplate, even if this effort ends in total failure.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
The Rite effectively examines faith under fire.
Charles Koplinski - Illinois Times
The Rite is effective in creating a creepy mood. But this all goes to hell as soon as the film tries to convince us possessions are real and so is the devil.
Beth Accomando - KPBS.org
No, it's not good, and, no, I'm not recommending The Rite, but I can't bring myself to actually dislike a movie that includes Satan's mule.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
The Rite trots out the tired old belief that catering to cynical viewers' assumptions is half the battle in convincing them that they're seeing something new, different, or possibly just worthwhile.
Simon Abrams - Slant Magazine
Our hero has a vision: It's a jackass with red eyes. No, not Charlie Sheen, a different one.
Mark Ramsey - MovieJuice!
Light on gore, The Rite's a snore, consisting largely of ponderous conversations that seminary students might have over a big bowl of pea soup.
Corey Hall - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Demonic horror tale is disturbing, but no Exorcist.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Common Sense Media
The fact this Anthony Hopkins led movie is based on a true story makes the implications more intense and the possibilities scarier.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
...it's O'Donoghue's aggressively bland performance that stands as The Rite's most misguided and misbegotten attribute...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
"The Rite's" insistence on chewing over Michael's snoozer of a spiritual crisis keeps the story from taking hold and taking us anywhere at all.
Alison Gang - San Diego Union-Tribune
Hopkins doesn't so much turn in a bad performance as allow himself to go all-out chewing the scenery.
Daniel M. Kimmel - New England Movies Weekly
Clumsy, ham-fisted, and often silly, but at least it asks the question: if in this world a girl can be possessed and tormented by a Biblical demon, what else must be true?
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
A misbegotten mess of haunted house cliches, Vatican mumbo jumbo, and Anthony Hopkins channeling Hannibal Lecter (for the umpteenth time) as well as Linda Blair! The worst film of 2011.
Fr. Chris Carpenter - Movie Dearest
What do you call an Exorcist-inspired film free of projectile pea soup and set in Rome? Not too bad, actually.
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
"The Rite" aims for authenticity but is nothing more than a cartoon. The film is rife with poorly executed genre cliches and bad acting, alienating the viewer from the picture--and putting them into a coma.
Christopher Smith - Bangor Daily News (Maine)
A psychological thriller filled with pretentious, gruesome, cliche-riddled Satanic drivel.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
This movie exists in theaters because Hopkins signed on. He does have 'The Rite,' but that doesn't mean we have to watch.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
Kofi Outlaw - ScreenRant
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
- National Post
The pity of it is, it might have done better had it stuck to its initial instincts.
Rob Vaux - Mania.com
For all its formulaic familiarity ... surprisingly effective ...
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
"Remedies the familiarity by challenging the very basis of the sub-genre: what happens if an exorcist doesn't believe in the devil?"
Scott Weinberg - FEARnet
The film need only surpass sub-basement expectations to be considered a success; it's a nice surprise to find that it's actually a solid movie, Satan fatigue notwithstanding.
Tricia Olszewski - Washington City Paper
Anyone who has seen THE EXORCIST or any of its imitators in the last 38 years can skip this boring re-tread.
[VIDEO] It's doubtful that even Roman Polanski could have made "The Rite" a good horror film, but he would have at least made it into a competent one.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
It's not necessarily boring, but when you come into a movie expecting crazy Anthony Hopkins and all you get is mildly eccentric Anthony Hopkins for 80 minutes you do feel a little robbed.
Matthew Razak - Flixist.com
The devil is real, and he's an inveterate scenery-chewer.
Thomas Leupp - Hollywood.com
What starts out as a promisingly deadpan supernatural drama quickly devolves into The Exorcism of Charlie Rose
Brian Juergens - CampBlood.org
The Rite is just another exorcism film that will be forgotten in a long line of films that have followed The Exorcist. Look out for Colin O'Donoghue though!
Kevin McCarthy - BDK Reviews
O'Donoghue is not nearly captivating enough to pull it off.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
None of the greats could've made this poorly crafted, lethargic, unoriginal gush of foolishness work onscreen. 'The Rite' is all wrong.
Clay Cane - BET.com
It's hard to take a movie like this all that seriously. Maybe it's just me. Judging from the giggles I heard at the screening I attended, it's probably the movie, too.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
[Hopkins is] truly spectacular in an over-the-top kind of way; it's too bad the rest of the movie doesn't live up to him.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Handsomely shot in moody Italian and Hungarian locations, "The Rite" is a thoughtful, beautifully put-together film. It just isn't a very interesting one.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
A supernatural thriller with Anthony Hopkins as a seasoned exorcist who introduces a young priest to the mysteries of not knowing.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
The Rite, neither fresh nor innovative, plays like a two-hour Vatican recruiting video. But it is easily Hopkins' most creepy cinematic portrayal since Hannibal Lecter.
Brandon Fibbs - BrandonFibbs.com
Reminds me less of recent exorcism films than of the sort of movie that Terence Fisher made for Hammer Films.
Steven D. Greydanus - Christianity Today
Concepts and theories are set loose, but without a dynamic script, they don't so much soar as hover dispiritedly
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
Stylish, initially provocative, [but] suffers from increasing implausibility, oversimplifications, diminishing suspense and a bland, unengaging performance by Colin O'Donoghue.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
The Rite doesn't just want to make you jump, it's looking to send you home unsettled. I don't think it succeeds, but the attempt is admirable.
Devin Faraci - CHUD
Just another cautionary tale for atheists and just another loud-jolt exercise for the Friday-night teen audience, content with the mere ritual of supernatural hokum and the illusion of dramatic depth.
William Goss - Cinematical
As seriously as The Rite takes itself, it really doesn't contribute much to the supposed whys and wherefores of demonic possession.
Jim Slotek - Jam! Movies
If The Rite isn't exactly good, it's also surprisingly not-terrible.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
A film that somewhere on its journey from written page to finished product has been stripped of its initially cerebral leanings for a dopey, excessively conventional lighting and effects horror show. There isn't a legitimately scary moment to be found.
The Rite is nothing short of being a slice of stale white bread. It's a poor imitation of a classic ['The Exorcist'] that doesn't attempt a single risk and never strives to do anything original.
Brad Miska - Bloody Disgusting
Perhaps one day, someone will adapt "The Rite" for two actors on stage, minus token effects, and really dig into the dynamics between its two leads. That would be something to see.
Tom Keogh - Seattle Times
... the film appears to have had its own exorcism, with critical ideas and images suggested which are never followed through on.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
The Rite is actually an OK supernatural drama for a little over the first half, but the moment it becomes more of a special effects-driven film it completely buckles.
Jim Vejvoda - IGN Movies
...Hopkins is by far the movie's greatest asset...
Maitland McDonagh - Film Journal International
Apparently, Satan is a huge fan of Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Bill Gibron - Filmcritic.com
"The Rite" has the body of an ambitious horror movie, but its soul, I'm afraid, is lost to the demon of schlock.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
You know what isn't terrifying? Mules. Also not terrifying: mules with red eyes and baleful expressions.
Keith Phipps - AV Club
That blend of the bizarre and the banal gives The Rite a badly needed edge, but it's not enough to make it a keeper.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
The Rite is an exorcism flick "inspired by true events," which in this case means once upon a time there was a priest.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
Bloated with exposition and exaggerated effects, by the time the climax comes you've lost all devotion. But...! Hopkins is excellent as Father Lucas.
Staci Layne Wilson - Horror.com
The question this exorcism potboiler really raises isn't what's possessing the supposed victims, but what possessed a great actor like Anthony Hopkins to accept a role in such schlock.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Those wanting to see a film devoid of cliches and implausibility should look elsewhere. Still, Hopkins is terrific, inhabiting the role like, well, a man possessed.
Peg Aloi - Boston Phoenix
Proving that mixing religion, horror and cinema is something that usually does not pays off.
Jolene Mendez - Entertainment Spectrum
There may be redemption in store for some of his characters, but Hafstrom has some serious work ahead of him if he wants any kind of absolution after this wreck.
Ian Buckwalter - NPR
Father Lucas is too practical for his job; he eschews pomp and circumstance and has a sex appeal that makes you skeptical of his celibacy.
Sara Maria Vizcarrondo - Boxoffice Magazine
Sir Anthony here doesn't just chew the scenery; he grinds it into dust.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
No matter how impoverished the script, or how clamorous the inanities unfolding all around him, Hopkins just can't stop being a terrific actor.
Kurt Loder - Reason Online
Despite a fine cast, The Rite bears the sins of a weak script, with an over-the-top climax that undercuts the bejesus-scaring.
Matt Stevens - E! Online
This is an exorcism movie that those who actually saw The Exorcist in theaters can get into.
Kevin C. Johnson - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The Rite gets it all wrong. With a lopsided story line, an untested lead actor (no it's not Anthony Hopkins) and an are-we-there-yet wait for the good stuff to start, this thriller barely thrills at all.
Joanna Langfield - The Movie Minute
Anthony Hopkins is cast to elevate the prestige and stature of this exorcism movie, but he (and the other talented cast members) is defeated by a verbose plot that's both dull and presposterous.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
With such an impressive opening, The Rite isn't a complete failure. However, I have to admit, toward the end of this movie, I was rooting for the Devil to win.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
You wait, bored, with demons crawling up your ass, for the good stuff to start.
Joshua Rothkopf - Time Out