Carl is a forty-five-year-old man with a passion for UFO phenomenon. He lost his mother as a teenager when she was found dead together with two people following a séance. According to Catholic religion whoever practices occult activities is doomed to hell. Since then, Carl, is unable to accept the sad fate of his mother, he lives with the obsession of proving that hell does not exist.
Fall 2008. To cure Dakota his 13-year-old daughter’s mental illness, a psychiatrist suggests that the family temporarily move to a place away from the city. In agreement with his wife Elena, they rent a cottage in the mountains near a lake. However, the girl’s ailments become more and more troubling, enough to convince her parents to make an appointment for an urgent psychiatric visit. During the drive Dakota slowly begins to accuse a growing annoyance. As they reach a certain point the girl suddenly begins screaming and wriggling as if she was possessed. Carl nails down the car and catapults into the back seats in an attempt to calm down his daughter. Elena’s terrified gaze falls on the building in front of her. A church from which can be heard the choir of some elderly women reciting the holy rosary. As soon as the car drives away from the church the girl’s disorders slowly disappear.
Elena is convinced that her daughter is the victim of a diabolical possession. Carl instead, of an entirely different view, proposes to his wife a solution which he defines as scientific and effective. Without success in convincing his wife, he his forced to find a priest who is willing to submit Dakota to an exorcism. Father Gabriele, an elderly priest was removed from the church for performing exorcisms without authorization from the bishop, he agrees to give the family a hand. Both Elena and Carl participate in the exorcism, interested in documenting the session. However while recording each thing with her video camera Dakota suddenly turns against them shouting that her mother is burning with her in hell. Immediately after she regurgitates a ring on which a small cross is engraved.
The exorcism does not free the girl and Father Gabriele, who is harassed by demons and weakened by some pathologies against which he has been fighting for years, he decides to leave town. Carl scolds him not so much for the choice of leaving, but for persevering in terrorizing people with a demon the fruit of the pure invention of the church. Before leaving Father Gabriele remembers that Satan’s greatest victory is precisely that of having convinced man that he does not exist. Carl, pushed by his wife’s pressure, identifies another exorcist, Sokol, younger than the previous and esteemed by colleagues for his numerous successes. The second exorcism completely frees the girl. Elena, relieved at this success, reiterates to her husband the true nature of her daughter’s problems stressing how only through her faith in God she got rid of it. Carl interrupts her, revealing that the man is not an exorcist. He is a well-known hypnotist, his friend, famous in the industry for documenting numerous abduction cases.
He explains to his wife that the holy water to which his daughter reacted as if it were fire, was not holy. Each technique used in the session actually concealed a hypnotic approach by exploiting at the same time the power of suggestion. Sokol gives a further explanation of the similarity that exists between the physiognomy of different alien races and that of different demons described in the bible. The same abduction phenomena documented during the regressive hypnosis sessions were absolutely comparable to phenomena of diabolical possession. The devil is the invention of the church which lasts to this day.
After hours of proven scientific explanations Carl finally manages to convince his wife, a doubt begins to make its way into his head. How could his daughter or the alien entity that possessed her mind know about his mother and her obsession with proving nonexistence. Sokol takes his friend in the direction of science. He points out that he too is giving in to suggestion. He convinces him by explaining that a parasitic alien entity may have also settled in his mind reading the contents as if it were a hard disk.
Reassured by Sokol’s clarifications, Carl retraces the moment of his mother’s disappearance. He takes out of a drawer the only photograph in which they are seen smiling together on the morning of the day they found her dead. With it appears photographs of the details on her body, taken by the police only a few hours later and of which he keeps copies. One detail thunders him. In the photograph of the morning, from his mother’s left hand there is a ring that is missing in the photographs of her hands taken by forensics. A ring on which a cross is engraved. What if his mother decided to convert by wearing that sacred image against the devil that very day? How did that ring end up in his daughter’s stomach, since he did not even know about its existence?
The only detail for which, however, there is no scientific explanation. The chaos that is created in his mind is suffocated immediately Father Gabriele’s muttered before leaving: Satan’s greatest victory was that of having convinced man that he does not exist. What if he was right? Upstairs in the cottage while she sleeps covered up to her neck, Dakota’s sleepy eyes suddenly are wide open.
- INITIAL RELEASE : September 28 2021, ITALY
- DIRECTOR : Luca Fortino
- BUDGET : 1.5 Million USD.
- LANGUAGE : English, French, Italian
- BASED ON : An original story by Luca Fortino