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A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * · · · · )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * * )

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Stigmata was billed as the next Exorcist that was officially attacked by the Catholic church. Those two things in itself are good selling points, but like all good sales, you have to deliver. Guess they didn't take that rule to heart when making Stigmata. At first I was really impressed. Sure I hadn't started the movie yet, but that introduction menu is one of the coolest, scariest and high tech little snippet of video I have seen on a DVD. Normally I don't give a damn about the menu and frankly find the usability of them severely lacking, but this one really made me excited to watch the movie. I thought it might be a cool, scary, high-tech movie like my childhood favorite, Price of Darkness. I hit the button and am offered the choice of the original cut or the alternate ending. Also exciting. Then I started the movie, what a mistake. I should have stopped while I was ahead. Basically, to the best of my knowledge, we have a movie about candles. Lots of them. We have some crazy ass political struggle within the Vatican led by an evil Cardinal who wants to protect the current Catholic church and will do bad things to do this. We have a severely wooden and plaster version of the matron mother. Hell, I have seen better acting in porno, not that I watch porno... I was a big fan back in True Romance, but she just plain sucks in this. It felt like she was reading off of a prompter. We just squirm and look at the clock while she moans and complains about her affliction with the five stigmatas like she had a cold on the night of the big rave. Every powerful moment is ruined with some crazy mix of music like blending Hole and Super Mario Brothers 3. There are a few bits and pieces of cool mysteries of the ancients, but that is all ruined when we find out that it is a political statement against the Catholic Church. Don't get me wrong, I like beating on the Catholic church as much as anybody, but I don't need to be sworn into some theory just because I wanted to watch a horror movie. The DVD did have some really great Dolby Digital 5.1 sound effects of candles and water droplets, but the music was crap. The picture was a very clean 16x9 anamorphic picture. I hit the alternate version of the movie and skipped to the end only to find out that it jumps to a non-anamorphic cut of the end that explains why we didn't see the fifth stigmata. A better ending, surly, but they could have come up with a more seamless way to incorporate it without making me switch to a different video mode in the middle of the ending. There is a directors commentary and a video featuring Natalie Imbruglia and Sonic the Hedgehog. Overall, if you can con a friend into buying this DVD, go check out that intro menu, otherwise just pretend it never happened and go watch the real Exorcist.