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Today’s Prayer Focus


MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for some disturbing violent content.

Reviewed by: Pamela Karpelenia

Moral Rating: Offensive to Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: • Young-Adults • Adults
Genre: Psychological-Thriller Supernatural-Horror
Length: 1 hr. 38 min.
Year of Release: 2023
USA Release: April 14, 2023 (limited—933 theaters)
DVD: August 15, 2023
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Relevant Issues
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Exposing the world to Satan’s agenda

This film has a lot in common with C.S. Lewis’ fictional The Screwtape Letters and was inspired by it—a book which attempts to reveal what Satan is all about using 31 letters written by a senior demon named Screwtape to his nephew, Wormwood (named after a star in the Book of Revelation), a younger and less experienced demon, charged with guiding a man called “the Patient” toward “Our Father Below” (Satan), and away from “the Enemy” (God).

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What is a DEMONIAC?

Is is reported that demon possession is growing throughout the world, and is a sign of the times prophecied in the Bible.

Serial murderer/killer

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Demon possession as an attempted legal defense for murder

Is everything that a demon says true? Demons are always lying and deceiving by nature. It’s true that we can’t trust what demons say. In the two famous instances when demons spoke in the Gospels, namely the demoniac of Gadarenes (Mark 5:1-20) and the man in the synagogue (Mark 1:23-26), the demons were forced to speak the truth by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Who is SATAN, the enemy of God and all people? Answer

Is Satan A REAL PERSON that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

SATAN’S STRATEGY—What is one of Satan’s most successful strategies in dealing with followers of Christ? Answer

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What are DEVILS and DEMONS in the Bible

What are DEMONS?

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

Who is Satan, the enemy of God and all people?

About the fall of mankind to worldwide depravity

What is SIN AND WICKEDNESS? Is it just “bad people” that are sinners, or are YOU a sinner? Answer

Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer

Do not click on this button

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How to witness to atheists

How can we know there’s a God? Answer

What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer

If God made everything, who made God? Answer

Is Jesus Christ God? Answer


Life Before Birth
Have questions about life before birth, or a woman’s choices about pregnancy and abortion? Discover reliable answers.

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Featuring Sean Patrick FlaneryNefarious
Jordan BelfiDr. James Martin
James Healy Jr. … Gate Guard
See all »
Director Chuck Konzelman
Cary Solomon
Producer Believe Entertainment — “God Is Not Dead,” “Unplanned
Steve Deace
Lori Cramer
See all »
Distributor Soli Deo Gloria Releasing

“Speak of the devil”

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” —Ephesians 6:12

This film addresses the reality of evil and the apathy and false compassion mankind has in regards to evil. Jay Budziszewski, observes that real “compassion ought to make us visit the prisoner, dry out the alcoholic, help the pregnant girl prepare for the baby, and encourage the young homosexual to live chastely. But how much easier it is to forget the prisoner; give the drunk a drink, send the girl to the abortionist, and tell the kid to just give in. False compassion is a great deal less work than true.” “Nefarious,” starring Sean Patrick Flanery (“The Boondock Saints,” “Powder”) as Edward, a convicted serial killer, facing execution. In order to be executed he must be declared mentally competent. Enter Dr. James Martin (Jordan Belfi), a self proclaimed atheist whose predecessor committed suicide after interviewing Edward, who claims to be possessed by demons. This simple plot delivers quite an intricate look into the actuality of evil, sin and the spiritual warfare going dating back to the beginning of time.

The acting of Sean Patrick Flanery is captivating and his performance makes the film. He essentially plays 2 roles, you’ll find yourself having pity for the Edward character at the same time, and despise the Nefarious side of the same character. The support cast, including Glenn Beck, a Mormon, while small, is effective for keeping audience interest and supporting the plot.

What the film got right.

The film does a Biblically accurate job in portraying what evil is and how the world has become indifferent to it, accepting of it and even celebrating it, leaving us with a makeshift, self-created morals paying homage to the god of self. Perfectly exhibiting how the first lie in the garden, plays out the current spiritual warfare. Doubting the word of God will allow you to make yourself out to be god, where we decide good from evil in our own eyes. This lie has influenced great evils throughout our history to this day. The Nefarious character recounts his fall; it all points to something as simple as Satan hates us because God created us in His image.

Now the serpent was more cunning than any animal of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”

The serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves waist coverings. —Genesis 3:1-7

Q & A

About the fall of mankind to worldwide depravity

What is SIN AND WICKEDNESS? Is it just “bad people” that are sinners, or are YOU a sinner? Answer

Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer

Do NOT click on this button

What is DEATH? and WHY does it exist? Answer in the Bible

What is the FINAL JUDGMENT? and WHAT do you need to know about it? Answer

What is ETERNAL LIFE? and what does the Bible say about it?


The film does a great job of showing how foolish we are to even think that we can have be truly good without God.

Where the film misses the mark.

The film does convey evilness clearly. However, it doesn’t point people to Jesus. It points people to a sort of a vague theism which is open ended, and may have been the intent. The doctor character has this life-altering encounter with the demon(s) and is shown the truth of sin and his own sinfulness and how demons truly despise humans because we are made in the image of God. How we foolishly have become gods in our own eyes because we turned our back to the truth of God and His Word.

However, after this encounter the doctor actually becomes possessed by the Nefarious, and even after all he experienced he walks away an agnostic of sorts, just trying to do his best to warn people about demons, but with no hope, no salvation. It almost comes off as if the creators of the film didn’t want to appear too Biblical, even though it tackles themes like abortion, end of life euthanasia, sexual morality, Ouija board play and hate speech, Woke nonsense, etc. Emphasizing how slowly giving into temptations over and over and over again, a person can become possessed by those sins. It goes far, but not far enough in pointing people to Christ.

In addition to the adult themes mentioned, there is smoking, the words h*ll and d*mn, and there is an execution shown in detail.

As for recommendation, if you are a Christian this movie has the potential to convict you out of complacency. Spiritual warfare is all around us, every day, all the time, BUT in the midst of darkness. There is The Way, The Truth, The Life, in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, the Creator of all things visible and invisible. He offers forgiveness of our sins as a free gift through repentance and faith in Him.

  • Violence: Heavy
  • Sex: Moderately Heavy
  • Occult: Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Moderate
  • Profane language: Minor
  • Nudity: Minor
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Mild
  • Wokeism: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—Riveting! Simple scenario, yet very, very effective. A psychiatrist (an atheist) meets with a condemned prisoner who claims to be possessed by a demon to determine if he is sane enough to be executed. It goes from there. Two other movies are currently out with a similar spiritual theme: Get Out in the Name of Jesus (about deliverance and spiritual warfare), and The Pope’s Exorcist (very loosely based on Father Gabriele Amorth, a real life exorcist, who Hollywood incorporates into a way over the top horror flick). “Nefarious” is much more effective and likely a more realistic portrayal, an eye-opening encounter.

The entire cast does a good job in their roles; Sean Patrick Flanery and Jordan Belfi are outstanding. Biblical truth is conveyed, personal and societal choices are raised. It has been said the biggest and most successful lie is that the devil and demons do not exist. That is also addressed.

Jesus is not mentioned by name. He is referred to as “the carpenter.’ Would a mocking demon avoid using Christ’s name? Does he react to the potential power and authority? Does he mainly encounter individuals who don’t believe in the possibility of demonic possession? He is, after all, having a conversation with an atheist in an increasingly secular world.

A very effective, thought-provoking film that will hopefully inspire conversations and insight about where you stand in the spiritual war that continues to unfold. Worth seeing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Tori, age 50+ (USA)
Positive—I think some of the critics quoted below, and the previous commenter who criticized the movie for not saying Jesus’s name, missed the point of this movie.

There is no doubt from the start that the killer is really possessed. The question is how will the psychiatrist react to it. Will he look below the superficial appearance of insanity and recognize the demonic evil? He is a stand in for the world. How will the world react to it?

Nefarious won’t say the name of God or Jesus because they are anathema to him. He can’t bring himself to say the names because names are very important, as he tells the psychiatrist. The priest very conspicuously doesn’t invoke the name of Jesus, which is clearly a conscious choice by the filmmakers that the priest represents the modern “enlighted’ church that doesn’t really believe in old fashioned ideas like spiritual warfare or evil as an active force trying to destroy individuals, western civilization, and the Church.

Nefarious is quite clear, though, that is his agenda, and he relishes it.

The movie is intense and supremely deep. It should be seen by everybody, especially any who at all resemble the unbelieving psychiatrist or the believing-lite priest. It’s a hard-hitting movie aimed at our soft-headed culture. Without saying the words “Jesus Christ,’ it delivers a powerful explicit gospel message and a powerful slap upside the head to those who don’t know there’s a war on and that Jesus is the only way to win it.

There is no swearing, sexuality or blood.

If the R rating is legitimate (and not a tactic of the MPAA discouraging people from seeing the movie) it’s for the electrocution scene that might be more violent than an actual electrocution. It’s a bit shocking (sorry!). The discussion about abortion is also pretty gruesome. Unsurprisingly, Nefarious loves abortion!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Jonathan, age 52 (USA)
Negative—Dear Mr. Steve Deace, I went to the movie, “Nefarious.” I was very disappointed, that Jesus Christ’s name was not mentioned in the movie. That would be like celebrating Jesus Christ’s resurrection, without Jesus Christ. That should have been The First words out of The Catholic priest’s mouth. He was without power, without Jesus Christ. Therefore to me it nullified the message of demon possession. I will not recommend it to anyone.

I was excited to see it. But it was a Big let down, intentionally or the director isn’t a Born Again Believer. Believer’s have been given the same power, that raised Christ from the Dead, The Holy Spirit living in them, all we have to do, in Jesus name, command Evil Spirits, to leave, and Demon possession, some is required to pray, to Rebuke and command it to leave. Thank you for allowing me to write a review. Sincerely Vel Rains
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Velma Rains, age 60’s (USA)
Negative—I would hardly call this movie a Christian movie. It’s just a horror movie. There is no message of repentance and redemption in the movie at all, and there were so many opportunities for that too. I was very disappointed in the movie after it was hyped up as a Christian movie. Having Glenn Beck at the end is also disappointing in that he is Mormon. The epilogue-type interview had no added value; and again a lost opportunity for redemption of the doctor who seemed no better off from the experience.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
Paul Booth, age 68 (USA)
Negative—As a spirit-filled believer, I found this film to be, not only incredibly disappointing, but extremely offensive. The fact that it has received so many endorsements by those who say they are Christians is a testament in itself to the wicked way in which the enemy schemes to deceive human beings, most especially those who have claimed their identity as children of God. This movie gave Satan a platform from which to speak into the lives of believers and non-believers alike. How DARE we allow Satan so much screen time to boast over his demonic agenda and trash our Father in Heaven without, at the very least, pointing viewers to the hope we have in the One who already gave us the victory over the demonic forces of hell when He died for our freedom.

This movie takes the viewers’ eyes OFF of God and places them ON to Satan. It drastically exaggerates the power of the enemy and in NO WAY spoke to the redemption and deliverance available to us through our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I am SHOCKED that there wasn’t ONE discerning born-again believer in the movie who understood the authority given to them by Jesus Christ to intervene on behalf of the suffering, possessed man. It is no secret to me, that much of what was said in the film regarding the way in which Satan seeks to destroy God’s creation is true; however, Satan does NOT have the final word as is shown in this movie, and it is a grave misstep to portray it as such. This movie does not offer any hope for the oppressed, nor does it answer any questions for those who do not know Jesus. There was no clear message of deliverance, no solution and no gospel presented to audience members.

In my opinion, the film “Nefarious” is the enemy’s way of winning back ground in the media which was already claimed for the Kingdom of Heaven by other shows that have recently been produced, such as “The Chosen” and “Jesus Revolution”. Shame on us for allowing it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
AM, age 24 (USA)
Negative—Where to begin? There are so many things wrong about this movie, and the fact that so many Christians are promoting it is a disturbing sign of our times. Christians have been like the world in so many ways that many are completely desensitized to things that should be incredibly offensive to our spirits, especially if we claim we have the Holy Spirit in us!

First of all, no one needs to see the imagery in this film. Cruel and gruesome, and played out only to qualify it as a horror flick.

Second, the movie glorifies the power of Satan, not our Heavenly Father. Satan has his way throughout the entire film as if he is all powerful. Not one spirit-filled believer is presented, and as in all other horror films, a pathetic priest is presented who is easily manipulated by Satan. This was falsely sold as a deliverance film. It opens the door to the demonic without offering any tools to the viewer to know how to resist Satan. Those who don’t know better may actually think that the only way to be possessed is to just verbally invite him in as they portrayed that the lead character did. That is not how satan gets a foothold in most people’s lives. Rarely is the demonic influence, in real life, presented in a person as a split personality as this movie portrays. The character in the movie was a sad, innocent man who the demon jumped in and out of at will.

No, this is not what it looks like in most cases… Instead, people give themselves over to deception, unforgiveness, anger, etc., opening doors to his influence in their lives one sin at a time. This movie completely deceives one who may really need to understand there is a real satan and a real spiritual war occurring for their soul. As is the trend in Hollywood, they dared not speak the name of Jesus in this film.

I am sorry, but Jesus gave us all we need, and this movie did nothing to share that with the world. I was offended as it felt as if I was listening to just a glorified gossip session, diminishing the King of glory.

Finally, I don’t need to see the gospel according to the devil, because he has been twisting the scriptures for centuries to deceive. I mean, was it not Eve giving time to the devil to have conversation with her that caused the fall of man before God? Did we learn nothing?

Jesus took authority and spoke scripture to the devil, and He really didn’t give him opportunity to have conversation with Him. And yet we believe it is a good idea to give Satan this platform on which to confuse and deceive people in such a time as this?

Only in today’s culture would we, in the face of a holy God, justify giving Satan time like this in the spotlight to glorify himself, and leave Jesus out of it. The love of God is what draws people to repentance. Not this.

Cruel and disturbing imagery. False teaching about spiritual warfare. Glorification of all the wrong things. No moral benefit to viewing this at all. In fact, every person in my group felt sick after viewing it and had to repent after doing so. Besides all this, it was a poorly executed film. The end is just explained in a very emotionless interview with someone who is ultimately unchanged by his experience. Leaves only questions. No answers.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
C Lea, age 55 (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Secular Movie Critics
…‘Nefarious’ tackles the horrors of modern secularism …a rare horror film worthy of being called art because of its ability to adeptly address truly existential cultural woes. …
Samuel Mangold-Lenett, The Federalist
…the film is mostly a set piece staged between Edward and James. James is an atheist — oops — who doesn’t believe in demons or possession, or in God for that matter. Edward assures him that this will not protect him.

If you’re such a non-believer, Edward taunts, then let me inhabit you. (Note: He’s speaking as Nefarious at this point.) The confident James says sure, why not?…
Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic
…Talky, faith-based thriller has a gruesome execution scene. …
Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media
…just about the only guy here who seems to actually believe in God is the villain of the piece. As a result, Nefarious gets most of the film’s interesting moments, his lawyerly rhetoric echoing the calculating logic of C.S. Lewis’s bureaucratic demon in The Screwtape Letters. … [3]
Bill Newcott, The Saturday Evening Post
…A thought-provoking supernatural horror exercise in morality… one of the most creative films about faith and the spiritual war on our souls to come out over the last few decades. “Nefarious” is a character study on the absence of faith and the destruction of it and how one plays into the hands of another. …a thinking man’s movie that relies on the human fears of mortality while questioning various atheistic and secular views of morality…
Jacob Smith, Bounding into Comics
…a riveting film… ingenious screenplay… Sean Patrick Flanery and Jordan Belfi have great feisty chemistry together, where at times, it is so intense, the energy is palpable through the screen. …Sean Patrick Flanery is a true force of nature, where he delivers a gripping performance for the ages. …[4½/5]
Markos Papadatos, Digital Journal
…Overall, “Nefarious” is a skillfully written and performed film. It accomplishes what every psychological horror sets out to do: scare people. But it does so in a slower way as if to savor the audience’s eventual fright. …
Elisabeth McGowan, Dead Talk News
…Sean Patrick Flannery delivers a gut-wrenching performance as the title character and, quite frankly, the dialogue between him and his co-star is what makes “Nefarious” a distinctive gem among a tired genre. …“Nefarious” keeps us in continuous suspense with one looming question: Is the killer actually insane… Or is he genuinely possessed by a demon? …“Nefarious” is impressive in that it can keep the viewer in a constant state of suspense with nothing more than a long conversation between two men. …thrilling and terrifying.
Hunter Miele, Red Carpet Crash