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Stigmata  (1999)

Cast: Patricia Arquette, Gabriel Byrne, Jonathan Pryce, Nia Long, Thomas Kopache
Director: Rupert Wainwright
U.S. Distribution: MGM
U.S. Release: 9/10/99
Running Time: 1:43
MPAA Rating: R

stig-ma-ta (n, pl) bodily marks or pains resembling the wounds of the crucified Christ and sometimes accompanying religious ecstasy

The words "twisted" and "noisy" are the defining characteristics of this interesting, but ultimately disappointing film from English director Rupert Wainwright.

A young hairdresser is brutally assaulted by an unseen attacker, leaving her wholey confused. For one, atheists are rarely chosen for such displeasure. Furthermore, it isn't a devil inside Miss Paige - it's a recently-deceased priest!?

Damn her mother for giving her that stolen rosary! (Damned if I didn't spend six bucks to see another MTV-inspired horror flick!!)

To say that I favored Stigmata and its afflicted star (Patricia Arquette) over her real-life husband (Nicolas Cage) and his last film (the god-awful 8MM) is not saying much. Neither is the fact that I enjoyed this film as much as I did The Exorcist (one of the most overrated horror films of our time). What I will say is that Stigmata does very little to distinguish itself from the increasing number of run-of-the-mill supernatural thrillers.

The customary special effects - most notably, levitation and fire-walking - are only slightly better than similar versions previously seen on television's "The X-Files". I can not help thinking, where did the rest of the $30 million-plus budget go?

© 1999, Delton Perrodin

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