• Maxwell J.

Wickedly Fun The Cleansing Hour (2020) Sees an Exorcism Go Viral

Title: The Cleansing Hour

First Wide Release: January 3, 2020 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)

Director: Damien LeVeck

Writer: Damien LeVeck

Runtime: 94 Minutes

Starring: Ryan Guzman, Kyle Gallner, Alix Angelis

Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here


A debonair priest live-streams his exorcisms so the general public can grow in their faith while growing his social media following. Father Max (Ryan Guzman) stars in ‘The Cleansing Hour’, an hour-long special where he summons the demons out of unfortunate human vessels with assistance from showrunner and best friend, Drew (Kyle Gallner). The gag of it all is that this of course staged and fake. That is, until, Lane (Alix Angelis), Drew’s longtime girlfriend, replaces one of their no-show actors and starts exhibiting some real paranormal behavior. It’s a race against the clock for Father Max to defeat the demon inhabiting Lane before their lives are taken.


The Cleansing Hour delivers quality exorcism nightmare fuel directly to your preferred streaming device.

Most exorcism and demon films are a dime a dozen, The Cleansing Hour stands out on multiple levels. Despite falling into some familiar tropes, the updated setting and structure of the story make for an engaging watch. I’ll go even further to say that The Cleansing Hour dodges the most odious of exorcism movie flaws by condensing the bulk of its story into one hour. Normally, we are subjected to the unfortunate soul being tortured over a long period of time and manifesting supernatural phenomenon before a priest is called in to save the day. While I wish there is a better explanation for the possession, I enjoyed this story choice. Additionally, I appreciate that the film leans into social media and internet horror by making the live-stream the fulcrum of the film.


Despite the flaws of the main crew, which become apparent as the film goes on, Max, Drew, and Lane are compelling and likable characters. Both the central and supporting cast does a great job of portraying their characters. Guzman has an incredible stage presence and delivers a sparkling kind of charm one can only recognize from the greatest influencers on social media right now. Angelis works overtime alternating between the sweet yet practical Lane and the diabolical and manipulating demon that has taken over her life. As a character, Lane really deserves more depth than the script offers. Regardless, In a role that is both physically and emotionally draining she works her ass off doing it justice.


The setting and scenery elevate The Cleansing Hour in fun and dark ways. While there isn’t much to say for most of the film’s artistic direction, the set design is a great display of showmanship. It is chock full of props that one could reasonably assume are necessary for exorcisms or helpful in fortifying faith in those fallen to demonic presence. The setpieces offer great moments of entertaining sequences that propel the action of the film and ramp up the intensity. One of my favorite examples involves the distribution and placement of simple black wires.

Director Damien LeVeck nails his first feature-length film. The tone borders between dark and campy, but never lets the humor get in the way of a good scare. The film is awkwardly paced, it almost rushes to finish its story in the first two and a half acts before slowing down in its final moments. LeVeck packages his first film in a sleek veneer of well-produced horror while still exhibiting the spirited indie charm we love to see from new talent. highlight of the film, I wish it was extended to the effects work. It is certainly never bad, the effects are largely hit or miss. Some of the demonic imagery towards the end is a little hokey but it never stoops to below B-movie level.


Director Damien LeVeck nails his first feature-length film. The tone borders between dark and campy, but never lets the humor get in the way of a good scare. The film is, however, awkwardly paced, it almost rushes to finish its story in the first two and a half acts before slowing down in its final moments. LeVeck packages his first film in a sleek veneer of well-produced horror while still exhibiting the spirited indie charm we love to see from new talent.

Social media has the ability to cultivate connections with others around the world, but what happens when we obfuscate who we really are, or worse, use it with malicious intentions? The Cleansing Hour opts into telling an internet morality tale on fan perceptions of influencers versus reality. Max wants to be liked by others, so he develops this persona of a heroic priest when the truth is he is a playboy, lazy worker, and bad friend. Throughout the film, the demon chips away at Max’s image, which destroys his credibility but also his identity. I’m not concerned with my own skeletons being outed, I’m pretty boring, but I do find the concept of losing control of your personal narrative terrifying on a practical and existential level.


The Cleansing Hour caught me by surprise as a shockingly fun and scary exorcism film. Obviously, it doesn’t touch the greats but hits all the necessary beats of a well-crafted and frightening film. It runs with the cliches and puts its own twist on the genre while straddling a dark tone with some twistedly fun moments of pitch-black comedy. When the bulk of the films in this subgenre are hopelessly mediocre and stale, any deviation from the norm should not only be welcomed but celebrated. Tune in for demonic thrills and the purification of sins from exorcism films past.


Overall Score? 7.5/10

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