Directed by K M Fitzgerald (2005)
Reviewed by MaT, added on Jun 28 2005
When he is unexpectedly kidnapped by a prostitute, Monsignor Pace, a distant and cold Catholic Priest, is forced to confront his worst fears in an old cemetary. As the girl confesses, the Devil arrives and gives Monsignor Pace an offer that will test his faith, and his devotion to God.
Admittedly, dialogue driven religious dramas are not high on my list of favorite genres. Though religion, especially the Catholic Church, is loaded with great material for horror films, most of the time the films are underwhelming and squander their potential. Such is the case with Ring of the Bishop, a film with an interesting, albeit derivitive, story that never quite goes anywhere. When your film contains no real "action" of any kind, a good script and actors are a necessity to keep the audience interested. For the most part, the filmmakers succeed in that aspect. The acting is shaky in a lot of spots and the girl doesn't really pull off her prostitute character in terms of believability, but for the most part, the acting is better than a lot of stuff sitting on store shelves. As I mentioned before, the story itself isn't very original. This is your typical "Holy-Man-Tempted-By-The-Devil" flick that you've seen countless times before, but it never gets boring enough to turn off. There's a lot of "dirty talk" involving lesbians and a Priest who sodomized one of his churchgoers that seemed really out of place in the film. It felt like every time the pace slowed down, the filmmakers would throw in some of this dialogue to get the audience interested again.
And that is the biggest problem with Ring of the Bishop, you'll lose interest in it early on. The film is so "blah" that I'm still trying to figure out what exactly was its purpose. The ending is really weak, and on top of being uninspired and unoriginal, nothing happens. There's nothing here that would appeal to horror enthusiasts and other than some salty dialogue, there's nothing that would appeal to the exploitation crowd. In fact, I'm having trouble figuring out who exactly would want to watch this. It's not that the film is crap or anything, in fact, it's competently made and entertaining in it's own weird way, but there is just nothing of any real substance to it. It's kind of a shame because the film had some potential, it just doesn't capitalize on any of it.
If you are really into dialogue driven religious films that revolve around a "man of the cloth" tempted by the Devil, then you may find something of interest in Ring of the Bishop. If not, I wouldn't recommend it. Hey, I'll give the film this much, it is better than the last couple of Exorcist films, though that might not be saying much :)