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Movie Review


MPAA Rating: R for violence and language

Reviewed by: Brad Kibler

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
124 min.
Year of Release:

Starring: Denzel Washington, Donald Sutherland, John Goodman, Embeth Davidtz, Elias Koteas, James Gandolfini, Robert Joy, Aida Turturro | Director: Gregory Hoblit | Released by: Warner Bros.

I was disappointed by this supernatural thriller. I had built up in my mind an expectation of the potential this film had, but it left me dismayed. I’ve come to expect more from Denzel Washington (“The Preacher’s Wife”, “Courage Under Fire”) who plays the lead role of Detective John Hobbes. Even the ending, which is intended to be a surprising twist, was somewhat predictable.

Det. Hobbes is the lead investigator of a serial killer who is executed by the state of Pennsylvania at the beginning of the film. The problem is that the man is not responsible for the deaths. The guilty party is Azazel, the demon possessing him. The story revolves around the cop and the demon battling to defeat each other.

The film’s worldview regarding demons is described mostly by Gretta Milano (Embeth Davidtz) a theology professor at an unnamed University. Many of the beliefs about the supernatural that this movie uses as it’s basis are flawed. Most of their “facts” about the spirit world seem to have been pulled out of a hat rather than based on the Truth. Jesus taught that if we are filled with the Spirit of God that we cannot also be inhabited by demons, one of many facts which this film ignores. Suffice it to say that this film did not make an effort to stay true to Scripture.

Hobbes' conversations with his partner Jonesy (John Goodman) often reflect a pseudo-religious belief system. Hobbes says he goes to church “now and then” but claims “Faith is hard to sustain” in his line of work. He refuses to believe in a God that cares for us each personally because “There’s more than 5 billion of us running around here like ants… Do you care about whether ants live or die?” God DOES care about each one of us (John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9)!


Can Christians be demon possessed? In what ways can Satan and his demons influence believers? Answer

The film doesn’t have as much dialogue as most other films, but manages to include in excess of 40 vulgarities and profanities of all kinds. This film also contains violent content which can be a bit unsettling even for adult viewers (a man being executed in the gas chamber, people being shot at close range, and other action-style violence). There was some vulgar sexual conversation, but no nudity or sexual situations.

If you choose to see this film, don’t take the kids. It promotes incorrect views of Christianity and contains extreme language and violence.

Viewer Comments
It has been a while since I saw this movie but I was actually very impressed with the reality of it. I agree that it is pretty violent and not appropriate for kids but I think it has an important message in it. We are aware that the movie is not from a Biblical perspective… and that’s why I “liked” the ending so much. This movie emphasized to me, a Christian, how we CANNOT win a spiritual battle if we do not claim Jesus as our Christ and Savior.

If we fall victim to the New Age movement and the false lies spreading about the spiritual world, we will believe that we can defeat demons. We cannot. Only Jesus has, can, and will do that. We must claim His name and His blood to fight the demons. I would not reccomend this movie to a non-believer unless you are prepared to watch it with them and then discuss the plan of Salvation and how we can defeat Satan.
—Sarah, 22
I would rather have not seen this movie. The content isn’t really graphic or that profane. One might even find a spiritual message that you can’t fight Satan in the flesh. And there is a suspenseful progression of the plot. That said, the subject matter of demonic possession is dark and disturbing enough to leave a sick to the stomach feeling with you. Why spend two hours dwelling on darkness?
—Todd Adams, age 30