There are so many things I want to say about this film but my fingers are having trouble keeping up with my brain. Despite that, I have to word-vomit everything I’m feeling. Though, it’s not like I could forget any details: The Cleansing Hour etched itself into my brain.
The Cleansing Hour left me numb yet completely wired. This movie kicked my ass, physically and emotionally. My back is sore from tensing up while I waited for the devil to burst from the television and drag me away. It will take me some time to recover from this one.
The Cleansing Hour is on another level. Things kick off fast and stay that way for the entirety of its 94-minute run time. There are no spoilers here, I’m offering a brief synopsis of the film. Everything here you can find in the trailer, which you should totally check out.
Right away The Cleansing Hour lets you know exactly who, and what, you’re dealing with. Max and Drew, two lifelong friends, have a show where they stream exorcisms for a live audience. And holy shit, are they wild. You find out in the first few minutes that things are not what they seem, and shit gets real. A demon finds its way onto the set and possesses Drew’s girlfriend, Lane. And, again, shit gets REAL.
The whole film was incredible, but I’m going to focus on two things that completely rocked me. First, the special effects. They’re amazeballs and added a level of horror to the film that made my skin crawl. From the death scenes to the Devil himself, the life-like, often grotesque special effects left me from stunned, and a few times, nauseated. I was blown away. The Devil is a masterpiece and I’ve never seen another film that portrayed him the way The Cleansing Hour has. The death scenes! Oh, my, they were wonderful. Again, creative and gross as hell.
That leads us to Alix Angelis, who deserves an award for her performance. Angelis’s portrayal of the demon-ridden Lane left me speechless. I don’t know how she did it, but you can FEEL the hate in her eyes and it’s unsettling as hell. Really, really unsettling. Many times during the movie, she would lock eyes with the camera, leaving me uneasy and a bit scared. It felt like she was staring through me, plotting what steps to take to make her way to my apartment.
Tara Karsian provides possessed Lane’s demonic, fear-inducing vocals. Her voice is unsettling, hate-filled, and at times, almost gleeful. To balance the sounds of hate and joy in the demon’s voice takes a lot of talent, and left me unnerved. I’m not sure how she does it, but my goodness is it effective.
The Cleansing Hour took exorcism films to another level. The topic on its own is terrifying, and this movie presented it in a new, somehow more horrifying way. I can’t believe I’m typing this, but it may have dethroned The Exorcist III as my favorite exorcism film. There’s a reason The Cleansing Hour sits at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Cleansing Hour is streaming now on Shudder as part of their 61 Days of Halloween celebration. Be aware, if you’re anything like me, you’ll need some time to recover.