The video below is a trailer for an upcoming movie. I can’t comment on the full context of the movie (since it hasn’t yet been released), but there are several important messages in the trailer. Allow it to bring forth in you a salutary fear; don’t be fascinated by the cheap parlor tricks of Satan or the Hollywood depiction of them.
Let’s take away four lessons from the trailer.
As the trailer begins, it seems that some scam artists have drawn in gullible people with fake séances and other forms of divination. There are hidden people who speak and make noises in order to convince the “customers” that the dead are actually being contacted.
Lesson One: Never dabble in the occult, even as a ruse or a joke. Those who do so often discover that the spirits they invoke in jest are deadly serious and quite real. Never invoke dark sprits and never seek information from the dead. Evil spirits can and often do masquerade as the souls of the departed; it’s a deception.
As the trailer progresses, things get very ugly. The characters go from lies and ruses (which are sinfully ugly enough) to an encounter with the Father of Lies. One of the characters, noting the abnormal behavior of a young girl asks, “Who are you talking to?” Believe me, you don’t want to know!
Lesson Two: Calling out to the dark world beyond often brings a response, and a very dark one at that.
As the trailer unfolds it seems that things get bad very fast. One of the characters says, “Something is happening that we can’t understand.”
Lesson Three: Satanic powers are masters of deception. All the parlor tricks (levitation, slamming doors, etc.) are meant to incite fear. But the real battleground is the mind and the very subtle deceptions of the Evil One. He subtly takes up the personality of the possessed soul and makes it difficult to understand who is really talking. Indeed, something is happening that is very difficult to understand, except perhaps for a trained exorcist. Even an exorcist enters the battleground with humility and careful discernment, rooted in considering the counsel of others on the team. For this and other reasons, an exorcist should never work alone. He should have an assistant priest and a team to assist him, to observe, to advise him, and to pray.
At one point in the trailer the priest says, “… you’ve opened up a portal.”
Lesson Four: Never open a door to the occult, even in a playful way. Ask not, lest you be answered, seek not lest you be found. Don’t joke or revile evil spirits (cf Jude 1:9). Our only message to them should be this: “In the name of Jesus, the Lord, be gone!”
Keep your eyes on Jesus and the saints. Do not be fascinated by demons or any aspect of darkness.
Movies like this one can incite a salutary fear, but they can also encourage an undue fascination with devilish things. No one who has ever assisted in an exorcism shares any of this fascination at all. Exorcisms are usually lengthy, tedious, and exhausting. There is no dramatic music, and things are never finished in a convenient 90 minutes. It’s an ugly process that weighs heavily on the participants. The demons usually shift quickly from cheap parlor tricks to subtle psychological deception.
If you chose to see this movie, please learn these lessons. Shed any fascination; there is nothing fascinating about evil. It is depressing, dark, and difficult to endure.
Remember that the Lord is more powerful that any satanic force. If you should ever encounter such evil, even through no fault of your own, summon the Lord and repeatedly declare aloud, “Jesus is Lord.” The sacraments, Holy Water, and other sacramentals are also very helpful. Do not panic, just have a salutary fear such that you keep a healthy distance from any dark powers.
Use care when watching this trailer. Let it provide you with information, but don’t let it fascinate you.