Rewriting the horror genre, “The Vatican Tapes” began when Lionsgate and Lakeshore Entertainment received the haunting spec script that took the classic horror concept of demonic possession and elevated it to an even more chilling level by introducing the anti-Christ.
Mark Neveldine directs “The Vatican Tapes” from a screenplay by Chris Borelli and Michael Martin about a woman who has been consumed by the anti-Christ. Neveldine, having gone to Catholic school, had a personal grasp on the world of The Vatican Tapes, and after discussing the project with producers, Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi, he jumped aboard the project. “I’ve always wanted to do a possession film. Something supernatural, but grounded in reality,” says Neveldine.
Neveldine collaborated with Lakeshore on the script, focusing on how to balance fantastical elements and reality. They found that equilibrium by developing the main female protagonist, Angela, and her relationship with her father.
“Angela is the everyday girl that we all know. While she hasn’t done anything wrong, this possession befell her and as we follow her chilling journey, we are rooting for her to overcome the devil,” explains Borrelli.
“We try to ground the film in reality and add a human element to the story,” says screenwriter, Michael C. Martin. “We found that human emotion by developing the relationship between Angela and her father, Roger.”
Along with incorporating the human emotion to the film, the filmmakers looked for ways to rewrite the rules of the horror-thriller genre.
“There are no decapitations, there are no blood sprays, and there aren’t any knives stabbing eyeball scenes. There are none of the normal grab-bag of tricks that you use in a horror film. This is more about subtlety. This film demonstrates the slow build and the slow escalation of dread,” explains Wright.
“This is a film about demonic possession that can consume anybody. We don’t try to pull any punches,” says Neveldine. “We’re not trying to look for any jump scares. Instead, I want to get under peoples’ skin.”
“The Vatican Tapes” opens July 22 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films. Check out the film’s chilling trailer here