Day #237: Stigmata (1999)

Stigmata (1999) (Rated PG-13)

Stigmata (1999) (Rated R)

Synopsis:

[From IMDb:] A priest from the Vatican is sent to Sao Paulo, Brazil to investigate the appearance of the face of the Virgin Mary on the side of a building. While there he hears of a statue of the Virgin Mary bleeding tears in a small town outside of the city. Meanwhile, a young woman in the U.S. begins to show signs of stigmata, the wounds of Christ.

My take:

I’ve always liked Stigmata; but, honestly, I’ve never really been sure if I understood it. I’ve also been entirely sure if this is my fault – because it went over my head (as much as I hate to admit the possibility) – or if it was the fault of the movie itself, for being unclear about what its message actually was.

I do know a few things for certain, though: the production value on this movie is high quality, both in terms of what we can see on screen, and what’s going on behind the scenes; the acting is generally pretty great – even if Patricia Arquette’s voice has always struck me as a little juvenille; and I’ve always liked the fact that, despite being a thoroughly religious movie in its theme, it’s a little less opaque in terms of what it’s actually saying about religion – organised religion in particular – which, frankly, gives it a bit more depth than some of its counterparts.

I think the movie also has to get some credit for taking a pretty unscary story and injecting it with at least some tension. It’s not always successful – with some scenes in particular coming across as a bit corny (like the crown of thorns bit) – but, occasionally, it actually manages to come across as, well, a genuine horror movie.

As a stand-alone movie, sure, it could do with some improvements; but as an example of a specific subcategory in the horror genre, I actually think it’s pretty good. Surprisingly good, even.

The soundtrack is pretty sweet, too!

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