The Cleansing Hour review by Bobby Blakey
I love horror, but not a big fan of the possession sub-genre mostly because they tend to be more bad than good. Sure we got some great ones in the Conjuring and Insidious franchise and of course the mother of them all The Exorcist, but the rest are very hit and miss. The latest hoping to leave its mark is The Cleansing Hour starring Ryan Guzman, Kyle Gallner, and Alix Angelis, but can it possess the audience enough to entertain or will it be an exorcism needed to make it go away?
The Cleansing Hour follows Max and Drew who run a popular webcast that streams “live exorcisms” watched by millions across the globe. In reality, the exorcisms are just elaborately staged hoaxes performed by paid actors. But their fortunes take a turn when one of the actors becomes possessed by an actual demon and takes the crew hostage. In front of a rapidly growing audience, the demon subjects the crew to a series of violent challenges, threatening to expose the dark secrets they’ve been hiding from each other unless they come clean and reveal they’re impostors before the show is over.
I must admit I went into this one with low expectations due to my ongoing disappointment of possession films. That was quickly changed with the great opening and then interesting twist in the direction of the entire film. The new direction using the technology and world obsession along with the direction they take the story infused a freshness this genre has needed for some time. There are times where it appeared it was going to head into the clichéd direction but it veered back on track to keep its momentum going.
I was surprised to how much happens here without letting up hardly at all. Once the chaos begins it barely gives you a chance to breath between the violence and mystery of it all. There are some fun gore moments that are really well done all leading to a great payoff at the end that I really loved the execution on par with things like An American Werewolf In London. There are a few of the visual effects that weren’t as good as I had hoped, but pale in comparison to the overall look and feel of the finished film.
I really dug this film and hope it finds the audience it deserves. Shudder and RLJE Films continue to push the boundaries with the films they have been releasing and this is just another one worth checking out. Join the exorcism and grab your copy of The Cleansing Hour available now On Demand, digital and DVD from Shudder and RLJE Films.