There have been countless attempts to emulate the sheer horror and religious terror of William Friedkin's The Exorcist in 1973. Even The Exorcist's own sequels were unable to obtain much success, but a mostly unknown horror streaming original has shown there is still life left in the subgenre.
The Cleansing Hour is a small independent horror film that was picked up by Shudder shortly after its premiere at the Film Festival, but is now compelled viewers to follow it. Still stuck in a huge horror backlog, a Reddit post has sparked a first proper appraisal online.
The Cleansing Hour is a very current exorcism film, following young internet age entrepreneurs and their sacrilegious livestream series called "Father Max." Their faked exorcism program eventually attracts the real of cases that might actually border on the otherworldly, although the fame-seeking protagonists aren't any wiser.
Beautifully, the film does not waste any time getting into the story itself. The opposite to the current trend of slow-burn, "elevated" horror films, this goes for the jugular early on and doesn't allow much time to let up.
The cast is largely lesser-known, but Kyle Gallner, a well-known horror actor, is getting a new role in which he can be witnesses to truly horrific events. His previous films include Smile, Jennifer's Body, and the mostly terrible A Nightmare on Elm Street remake, which was directed by Michael Bay.
The most praise for The Cleansing Hour should however go to the special effects team. It is far more realistic than many of the CGI-heavy horror films. Sometimes simple just feels better than complexity.
On Shudder, the Cleansing Hour is available to stream.