April 19, 2024

Do You Remember STIGMATA?

STIGMATA (Blu-ray)
1999 / 102 min
Review by Joey, the Sudden Cat🙀

I watched Stigmata back in the day, but until revisiting it for this Blu-ray review, couldn’t have told you a damn thing about it. There was nothing in the film that resonated enough to make it all that memorable. 25 years later, I felt like I was watching it for the first time.

And you know what? It still isn’t all that memorable.

Which is not the same as saying it flat-out sucks. Stigmata is competently made, is reasonably well acted and has a premise that, in the right hands, has great horror potential. However, I suspect it was put together by a committee of craftsmen who had no clue about how to make an effective horror film.

The basic plot has atheist hairdresser Frankie Paige (Patricia Arquette) suffering from the titular ailment, in which the victim bears wounds similar to those inflicted upon Jesus during the crucifixion. They don’t appear all at once, of course, and most of the horror sequences feature Frankie violently receiving these wounds. I’m no filmmaker, but do know that scenes intended to instill terror shouldn’t be shot & cut like a Michael Bay action movie.

Looks like Frankie's gonna do some re-gifting this year.
Vatican investigator Father Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne) is appointed to investigate, while Frankie begins to show the usual signs of possession…not of a demon, but a dead priest whose stolen rosary was given to her. It’s not adequately explained why a clergy’s spirit - no matter how pissed - would subject anyone to pain, possession, levitation and fire just to reveal an ancient document containing the gospel of Jesus himself. Sounds a bit excessive.

But that’s just nitpicking. All the flash, fireworks and hyperactive editing in the world can't mask uninspired storytelling. Stigmata offers nothing we haven’t seen before, in movies or a Nine Inch Nails video. On the plus side, it’s so forgettable that one could revisit it every couple of years and feel like they’re watching a brand new movie.


DIVINE RITES: THE STORY OF STIGMATA - Part making-of featurette, part speculative look at the history of stigmatics.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director Rupert Wainwright.




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