The movie begins with a number of statements; they are shown one at a time.
The Vatican does not authorize the recording of Roman Catholic exorcisms.
The Vatican did not endorse this film.
Nor aid in this films completion.
Oct 30, 1989
A 911 operator takes a call from a woman who speaks in a calm tone; she states the following.
Three.. Three people...
Three people are dead…
I killed them…
Send the police…
I killed everyone…
The caller then hangs up.
Crime Scene Walkthrough- South Hartford PD
A video plays showing what the police found in the home of Maria Rossi. The Police enter the house and check each room; the house is in a state of disarray. They see blood on the floor; the first victim found is male with an injury to the left temple and his body is facing north covered in blood. The second and third victims were found in the basement. A woman is found facing west; she is holding religious objects and is covered in blood. Close to her another man is found facing south; he has obvious trauma to the head and appears to have been strangled by a rope found nearby. Behind him, the wall is covered in blood. A chair is found with the right arm rest broken and straps used to restrain still attached. A loud noise is heard; the camera pans the room slowly looking over debris and junk; suddenly something falls onto the camera as it cuts out.
A Breaking News Report tells the details of the crime scene. Three members of the clergy, two priests and a nun are reported dead. Mrs. Maria Rossi was found in a crawl space in the basement; she is currently in police custody, and as she sits in the police car she looks back at the camera.
20 years later
Isabella Rossi appears on screen; she is the adult daughter of Maria Rossi. Isabella describes her mom as having a warm heart. A video of her is shown as a child the day before the murders occur, and everything seems normal in the household. Little Isabella sings Itsy Bitsy Spider to the camera. She holds a picture of her 1st birthday with her mother and father. She noticed at a young age that her mother’s moods were different; she also remembers that her mom would go away for weeks and return feeling better. She then states that her mother was not better and would be sent off again many more times. Isabella just wants to understand what happened to her mother.
Filmmaker Michael Schaffer speaks about Maria and her daughter Isabella. Home video footage is shown of Isabella with other children; it is on the same date as the earlier footage and a day before the tragic events that would send her mother away from her. Neurologist Dr. Jeff Victoroff speaks to the camera; he describes what disorders Mrs. Rossi may be suffering from ranging from depression, schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder. Father Christopher Aimes an ordained Catholic Exorcist says that she has had seven diagnoses since 1987; Isabella fears she might suffer the same malady that her mother suffers. Maria Rossi was found not guilty due to insanity. She is sent to a state mental hospital, but a few months later would transfer to a hospital in Rome, Italy. Isabella asks her father why she was sent there. Her father tells her that her mother attacked her hosts during an exorcism. She asked her dad if he thought she was possessed, but he did not know; he died a few days later. Isabella is seen taking a trip to Rome to visit the Vatican School for Exorcism, and to see her mother. She is asked by Michael if she is nervous about seeing her mother; she then tells Michael that the Archdiocese of Rome never authorized the exorcism; this is what compels her to fly to Rome.
Nov 26, 2009
Isabella and Michael drive though Rome; she wonders how serious they are about exorcism. She drives past St. Peters Square and arrives at the Apostolic Academy of Rome; Isabella walks in and hopes they can explain to her what affects her mother. She walks into a classroom where a Professor is giving a lecture about exorcisms. The Professor is Father Robert Gallo; he is an ordained Exorcist and Professor. He is describing a case involving multiple possessions, and how a demon can jump from one person to another. He further explains how the devil is quite prevalent; in Rome alone, there are hundreds of satanic worshipers, so the church is in need of more trained exorcists. In his lecture, he states they first rule out mental disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar issues. The course he teaches is designed to cover many situations and prepare exorcists for what they may encounter in a possessed soul. They watch a video of a woman who appears to be possessed; she speaks as is she is the devil. She then attacks the camera. One priest in the class states the victim spoke many languages, and had unusual strength; another student responds that someone who is schizophrenic would react in such a bizarre manner. There is a discussion about the need to rule out mental illness; the Professor then states that the case was inconclusive. Isabella notices the class is filled with clergy as well as non-clergy people. She sits with a group of the students and asks them why they are taking the course; one gentleman is quite vocal about science, and the need to be skeptical. Isabella asks when they will see a real Exorcism, but she is told by the young man that the class is theoretical. He states that the girl in the video was mentally ill, but her symptoms could confuse many into thinking she was possessed. She then asks if he has seen a real exorcism; he jokes about the Easter bunny. The priest next to him asks why she is doing the documentary; she tells them about her mother and how she murdered 3 people during an exorcism. She walks with 2 of the priests; Father Ben Rawlings and Father David Keane. They ask about her mother, and if she is at the Centrino facility. She asks them how one can tell if an exorcism is real. Ben tells Isabella that one will know when one sees it. She then turns to Michael and remarks how fascinating that was meeting them.
Dec 1, 2009
Isabella is outside her mother’s hospital the Centrino Mental Hospital in Rome, Italy; she then checks her cameras and talks to her cameraman Michael. Isabella’s father got a letter from Rome; the Vatican would treat her mother at the Centrino Hospital; it made her feel better as a kid hearing that. A guard tells them that no cameras are allowed; she shows her letter and a pass. Inside it feels as she is in an old prison, but she is happy to meet Dr Antonio Costa, Chief of Staff. Dr Costa shows her some videos of her mother in her room. She has an outburst and has to be restrained. Dr Costa mentions she is extremely hostile to anything religious and attacks anyone or anything wearing a religious symbol. Isabella tells him of the exorcist that was performed 20 years prior; Dr Costa feels she has a severe mental issue, but he does not know why she was brought there. Dr Costa tells her that her mother is prescribed a whole regime of drugs to keep her calm. Isabella looks outside and sees a number of patients in the courtyard. Dr Costa tells her to avoid anything religious and to be cautious; Maria is in a good state. Isabella walks in, and the video shows her in the room with her mother. Maria is sitting at a table and looking toward her. Isabella speaks to her mom in a calm and peaceful tone and introduces herself. Maria is staring, but does not seem to respond; she then mutters something that makes no sense. Isabella takes out the picture of her 1st birthday. Maria shows her cuts she has made including a cross shaped cut on her inner lip. Maria offers to show Isabella a painting she did; it is a picture of her mother, father and herself. Maria denies having a daughter; she then gives her the picture back, and thanks her for the visit. Maria then goes back to her desk and draws. Isabella asks her to tell her something; Maria looks at her and says something softly to her. She gestures her over; she mutters that she did something against gods will, and then has a violent outburst. Isabella is taken out and is visibly shaken up by the experience. She begins to cry and talks about what it is like to lose both of her parents. Possession and Exorcism took her mother away from her; she traveled across the Atlantic to visit her mom, and she is hurting after the experience.
Isabella visits Father David Keane; he is an ordained priest and licensed physician. He explains his desire to become a priest and how he feels if science can not help then religion can step in. Father Ben Rawlings is an ordained exorcist. Ben tells Isabella that his uncle was a member of the clergy, and when he was 13 his Uncle told Ben he was an exorcist. He felt proud that his uncle was a warrior who fought the devil for God. By 18, he had witnessed 4 exorcisms and helped on one, as well. His uncle is now deceased; to follow his example, he was ordained as an exorcist. He tells Isabella in his career as an exorcist he has seen the devil more than he has seen god. They watch the video of Isabella’s visit with her mother. Isabella tells them her mother mentioned a pregnancy that she had terminated; her mother said it was against gods will. Isabella states there is no way she could have known that. They mention that her mother has upside-down crosses carved into her skin. They also note the accents that her mother spoke with. Ben tells Isabella what to look for when searching for signs of an actual possession. Ben says they need to show her something; she then asks if the camera can come. Ben hesitates but agrees to it. There is a board on the wall with pictures of people the church turned down for exorcisms; they mention the status of each case. Isabella sees the picture of the girl from the earlier video, and they say she is indeed possessed. They tell her that they do unauthorized exorcisms because someone has to save their souls. They then show the equipment they use including cameras, heart monitors and other medical equipment. The church is in the business of healing souls, but the bureaucracy makes it difficult when it comes to matters concerning Exorcisms. Ben tells Isabella that an exorcism is needed to reveal the demonic possession. Ben tells her that all one needs to know about an exorcism is best done in person; in five minutes, she will learn the difference between a case of mental illness and real possession. They offer to show her an actual exorcism that they can film.
Dec 3, 2009
Isabella asks about the changes made to exorcism by the church in recent years; Ben and David explain that media coverage was immediately banned. Ben explains that exorcisms can take minutes or years to accomplish; each case being unique. Michael asks if what they are doing is legal and David says no. Ben & David warn them before they go inside of what they might see; Ben comforts a woman and she tells them that they had to move the lady to the basement. They go down stairs and say a prayer together. Inside the basement, they see a woman named Rosa lying on a bed under a sheet. Ben and David stand next to her bed, and they get to work. David gives the women a muscle relaxer as she is contorted in a bizarre manner. Rosa then pops her joints and contorts back into a normal position on the bed; Ben and David put on their religious garb and setup some medical scanners to monitor her vital signs; they also strap her to bed for her safety. David goes over what has been done for her so far medically; her eyes are measured and appear dilated at 9mm. Ben says a prayer in Latin; they both speak to her. Someone speaks through Rosa, but it appears to be the demon; they tell the demon Rosa is strong. Rosa calls out to Isabella by name, and speaks to her in English licking her lips. Rosa struggles against her restraints as her heart monitor elevates as they continue to say prayers in Latin and hold a cross to her. She appears calm, but reacts violently to both men; she then tells Isabella about her mother. Rosa violently reacts and says perverted things to the priests. She breaks her restraints and the camera goes black for a moment. They try to restrain her again but have difficultly; they continue to say prayers to cast out the demon. Rosa screams violently as they continue their prayers she then relaxes and her vitals signs are more stable. Her fate is undermined.
Dec 4, 2009
Isabella and Michael watch the video; Isabella says they have video evidence of demonic possession. Ben tells her that the Vatican does not approve of what they are doing, and do not permit unsanctioned exorcisms. Isabella gets a phone call; she tells them the hospital wants to keep her mother and the Dioceses tell her the church will not perform an exorcism on her mother. Ben and David talk to Isabella about her mother, and David insists that Isabella is an observer, and she can not recommend an exorcism for her mother. Ben wants to go ahead, but David fears the church will shut them down for their activities.
Dec 7, 2009
David is nervous and does not want to jeopardize his job as he is an active priest in excellent standing. He does not agree with the hospital as it makes him unhappy in the way they are treating people. Isabella wants to know if her mother is indeed possessed, or just mentally ill. They install some cameras and bring Maria in. Dr Costa steps out after Maria's arms are restrained on a gurney. Ben and David connect a sedated Maria to their scanners and hope to video their progress. Ben speaks to Maria; he asks if there is someone with her at this moment. David is monitoring her vitals and checks on her pupils. David notices that Maria is sleeping, and that they may be wasting their time. Maria suddenly screams; her eyes are shown to be fully dilated. Ben and David begin their exorcism rites. Maria reacts violently to the cross and yells at them all. David is knocked to the floor, and Maria looks at Ben telling him something about his past. Maria breaks free from her gurney, and the camera falls as they try to restrain her again. Ben is thrown against the wall. She screams at Ben and then begins to sing Itsy Bitty Spider. David tells Isabella not to listen to her as it is the demon speaking. Ben continues with his rites and Maria insults him and spits at him. Isabella screams that they are hurting her mother and tries to speak to her mother directly. Maria tells Isabella she will burn for what she did. The hospital guards come in to the room and tell them to stop filming.
Dec 10, 2009
Isabella and Michael are watching the video on a laptop. Michael believes they have the evidence to get an exorcism. David states that Dr Costa still insists on mental illness as the cause of Mrs. Rossi's condition. Isabella wants her mother moved back to the states. Michael is analyzing the voices on the video with Ben. Maria is speaking in more than one language. Michael asks about what she said about Ben’s uncle and Ben gets up and states that there are 4 voices coming from her. She has multiple demonic possessions occurring within her. Ben will take all their findings to the Holy See, but David does not want to risk getting in trouble. David is going through the papers and worries about what the Vatican will do; Ben insists they are just scaring them to remain quiet.
Dec 14, 2009
Isabella walks out of the hospital and states they will not release her mother. She then fusses over her keys and yells at Michael in frustration. David tells the camera they can not let the church see the video footage. Ben speaks out about how the church covers up things like this and David fears they will be excommunicated for disobeying the church. David is sitting in the dark eating as Isabella checks on him. Ben is visibly stressed and speaks out to the camera his frustrations.
Dec 15, 2009
Isabella and Ben look at the video and notice that 2 cameras cut out at the same time. David walks in and states that the bishop denied their request. Michael reminds David that he is to accompany him to a Baptism. David gives a brief summary on the role of Baptism and how it is essential for the soul of the child. Michael films the baptismal ceremony; David performs the ritual and takes the baby for the water immersion. He puts water on the baby and then puts baby in the water and holds it down as the crowd tries to save the child. David passes out. Isabella states she wants to stick the camera in Michaels face and ask him what it feels like to know his mother fucked his father’s best friend. David arrives, and Michael tells Ben what happened at the Baptismal ceremony. David almost drowned the baby. Isabella asks if David is ok; Michael says that David seemed ok, but his breakdown was unexpected. There is a loud noise that sounds like a bang as the lights go out. Using the night vision; they go upstairs to check on David. They see David is covered in blood, and his eyes are rolled back. They hear more bangs and run downstairs. The Italian police arrived to arrest David. A policeman goes upstairs, but David takes his gun from him. David emerges from his room, and Ben tries to speak to him. David puts the gun in his mouth, and Ben tells him that he will be ok and to listen to him. David is scared and begins to weep. He recites the Lord’s Prayer, forgetting the last part. He then shoots himself in the mouth. Isabella suddenly collapses into a seizure.
Michael and Ben follow the ambulance to the hospital and Ben tells him that the demon may have entered Isabella. Inside the hospital, Isabella is being taking away by a number of nurses and doctors. Ben and Michael sit in the waiting room. Ben makes a phone call and talks about a possible transference and details about the 4 demons within Maria Rossi. A nurse comes to them, and they ask if they can see Isabella. Ben tells her that she needs to be taken out of the hospital; they then see a number of people run into the room frantically. A nurse is on the floor bleeding heavily from the neck as Isabella is being restrained by half a dozen doctors and nurses. Ben and Michael are able to drag Isabella out of the room and pin her to the floor as she contorts into a weird position. Ben tells the staff he is a priest and that they need to help the people in the room. Ben and Michael take Isabella out of the hospital and get her back into the car. Ben needs to get her to an exorcist to cast out the demon in her. As they drive Isabella regains consciousness and struggles with Ben in the back seat. She tells Ben that she knows about the horrible act Ben committed when was 13; Ben shows surprise and fear of what she may know. She then tries to strangle Michael as he is driving, but Ben is able to get her off of him. Michael then unlatches his seat belt and begins to accelerate as he shows signs that he may be possessed, as well. The car appears to hit something as it is shown rolling and flipping over. The camera goes black.