Stigmata

-

Stigmata

Community Grade

  • A
  • A-
  • B+
  • B
  • B-
  • C+
  • C
  • C-
  • D+
  • D
  • D-
  • F
?

Your Grade

?

It's telling when a movie called Stigmata improperly defines the word "stigmata," misidentifying the five wounds of Jesus involved in the phenomenon. But that's par for the course in this brainless supernatural thriller starring Patricia Arquette and Gabriel Byrne. Not that it would matter if they'd gotten it right. A transparent Exorcist rip-off (just weeks after The Astronaut's Wife, a transparent Rosemary's Baby rip-off), Stigmata stars Arquette as a Pennsylvania hairdresser whose go-go, club-hopping, inflatable-furniture-using lifestyle takes a turn for the strange when her mother sends her the rosary of a dead Brazilian priest. As anyone who's ever seen an episode of Friday The 13th: The Series might guess, Arquette soon begins sporting holes in her wrists, a sure sign that the forces of good and evil and the power of God will shortly come crashing down upon one of Pittsburgh's trendier neighborhoods. This naturally attracts the attention of a priest specializing in the investigation of paranormal phenomena (Byrne), who ponders the case's connection to a top-secret translation of a recently unearthed (and suspiciously New Agey-sounding) lost gospel. Stigmata attracted some protests from Catholic groups shortly before its release, and it's not hard to see why, as several high-level Vatican officials—particularly one played by a once-again-wasting-his-time Jonathan Pryce—do everything but wax their mustaches and leer villainously. But a church that needs to worry about anything as ridiculous as Stigmata undermining its authority is truly in the grips of a profound crisis. Despite a budget that allows for a fair amount of religious-themed special effects, director Rupert Wainwright, the spookmaster behind Blank Check, seems at a loss for how to stage his possession scenes in a manner more effective than a generic Goth video. Virtually very other aspect of Stigmata is downright inept: If you don't find yourself laughing at the scene in which Arquette's co-workers gossip cattily about their friend's new stigmatic tendencies as if they were mocking an ugly hat, you're probably taking the movie as seriously as it takes itself. Which, if it's to be enjoyed at all, is not the right approach.

Filed Under: Film

More DVD Review