(Martin Shaw, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2010 / BFS Entertainment)
Overview: In this six-part miniseries, Martin Shaw (Judge John Deed) is Father Jacob, a Roman Catholic priest who examines evidence of miracles to promote candidates for sainthood. He is drawn into the domain of exorcism when he is approached for help by a young girl who believes her father is possessed. Besieged by ghastly visions, vicious murders and demonic attacks, Father Jacob wages war against evil with the only weapons he has - faith, ritual and prayer.
DVD Verdict: In 1997, Mother Teresa is hospitalized, with what one attending Priest believes to be a curse - the Devil himself! But, as she dies, she touches a leper boy and cures him. Cut to modern day, 2008, and Father Jacob, a Roman Catholic priest (Martin Shaw, ‘The Professionals’) is to become the Chief Exorcist - and “they” will do anything to stop that from happening.
Shaw does an incredible job here, his acting spot on, his delivery re: the Church, a Priest is breathtaking to watch. Let alone the fact that, at times when needed, his Roman Catholic accent is exceptional! In this first part, a young daughter believes her dad is possessed, and brings Father Jacob (Shaw) in to aid her. As that story progresses, it slows down somewhat, before the ending; a great, bloody ending, is played out!
The second part begins with the visions of a skinned-alive body (that of the once-leper, now-cured young Priest) that had been taken under the wing of Father Jacob. A ‘new’ bible of info is brought forth, and as it gets investigated more deeply by Father Jacob, he discovers that its covering is that of the skin of the now-departed young Priest!
Come episode three, and HMP Sandford has some religious hysteria happening within its walls, when a young inmate is possibly diagnosed with incredible healing powers - and sweats blood at the same time, of course! After an attack on a Nun, within the confines of the Church itself, a cute line of anger and intent is uttered by Father Jacob to the now on the run inmate: ‘You’ll be in my Prayers, Father,’ spits the Demon, before Father Jacob quickly retorts with, ‘Not if you’re in mine first!’
Soon, Father Jacob has to perform a non-sanctioned Exorcism - one that will either allow the Devil to enter unto him, killing him, or one that will banish the Devil to whence it came. I won’t give the tremendous ending to this part away, but safe to say it is compelling TV at its most high profile finest. And as for Father Jacob and his one-liners, well, how about this one: ‘Faith is nothing if it is untested. We have to take it out of the box and give it a spin once in a while.’ Amen, Father.
Part four begins with the scenes of an old, very old woman being heavily pregnant, and comes complete with a very Alien-ish (the movie) opening! Michael, the man Father Jacob brought into the Church early on to ‘find himself,’ discovers he was once a soldier; information passed along to him by a tall, dark, lanky, scarred and blind mystery man! The episode culminates in a wonderful, captivating swimming pool scene, but not before Father Jacob lets all know that, ‘Prayer is he most powerful weapon we have got.’
The Virgin Mary herself makes an appearance in Part 5 - to a young brother, who alone can see her, whereas all around cannot see, nor hear her words. This is a tale of the Devil pitting Christian’s vs. Muslims, and is one very powerful episode to watch. A scene midway through with a pig is a little OTT, as is the beheading of a worshipper, but it comes complete with a wonderful ending!
In the final part of this incredible UK mini-series, Father Jacob has now been possessed by a now re-demonized Michael. And subsequently undertakes his very own self-exorcism. In a move that sees him go from a hotel room to an old abandoned house, the exorcisim fails: just.
Michael then travels to Rome and steals the sacred bullet that in 1989 shot Pope John Paul. Father Jacob is not far behind, and with the help of one of his Nuns, the series culminates in a (albeit, very small) Rome Church re: the battle between Good and Evil. Breathtakingly played out, with a wonderful, fulfilling ending, ‘Apparitions’ is something that compels you to watch it straight through, no breaks … unless you’re an Atheist, of course! [RT] This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.