We live in a time where movies are pumped out for the shock value that they can have on their viewers, and yet most of these movies fail to be different from the rest of the flock. The feature focuses on your normal plot, of God VS the Devil, light VS dark. You know, your normal ”spooky” story gooeyness.
This story starts with a beautiful church and a single lone tree that stood in a field next to the church. Hints of audio suggest that the stories about the voices coming from the tree could be true. Meet, Gerald, played by Jeffery Dean Morgan, a news story editor extraordinaire. Gerald goes hunting for the biggest scoops with the most gossip, which has put his job at risk before. Now he’s working as a freelancer trying to cover a new story. Gerald was notified of devil-worshipping that was happening in this little town of 2,000 people in the heart of America, Banfield, Massachusetts.
Metallica makes their debut
After meeting with the family that reported the devil worship and cow mutilation, Gerry finds that the family’s 16-year-old son had branded the cow’s butt with a symbol of the band Metallica. Finding out that his next big story was nothing more than a teenage prank, Gerry spots this ornate tree next to the church. Talking with the farmer of the mutilated cow, he started to think of a story he could make up for the area.
Getting closer to the tree, Gerry starts to hear voices, but as usual, our protagonist doesn’t pay any mind to the weird things happening around him. Gerry finds this doll, tucked away in the roots of the tree. A porcelain doll with a chain wrapped around it tightly, with an impossible date stamped on the chain. February 31st, 1845, impossible date for a curse to lay forever.
Things were going fine for Banfield. Until they weren’t. Dundun.
Well as usual, things can never stay safely locked away. Gerry our dear boy, smashes the doll and lets loose one of the oldest demons to haunt Banfield. Nothing amazing happens, so Gerry carries on with his day, visiting a few of the local shops before starting the drive home in the evening. This is where he comes face-to-face with the demon in physical form, Alice. Young, deaf Alice was standing in the middle of the road when Gerry came around the corner and almost ran her over. As soon as Gerry left his car to check on Alice, she had started running through the woods with a purpose. Gerry taking after her, finds her purpose is back at the ornate tree that he had smashed the doll beneath it. Alice speaks to Gerry in a very clear and softened voice, concerned for her well being, Gerry takes Alice to the church for safety. When Gerry gets to talking to a priest of the church, he finds out that Alice is a Deaf-Mute and could not have spoken to him.
Curiosity of the Tree
As the Church becomes more involved with the happenings of the tree, a following begins to form around Mary and her blessings. More and more people gather around Alice, praying for her to bless them with the love of Mary. Cary Elwes comes into play as Bishop Gyles. The Bishop comes to make sure that the acts of Alice are Holy, and not a mockery of the Church. Over many tests, Alice proves to herself time and time again that her word is that of the Holy Mother Mary.
With this, Bishop Gyles and Monsignor Delgarde pronounce Alice as a true miracle, which gains the attention of the entire USA. A circus erupts in the small town of Banfield, the population soars over 10,000 with people here just to see Alice. Alice wishes to hold a service by the tree and broadcast it to the masses. Gerry and Natalie have uncovered the darkness that surrounds the tree. Finding that the curse laid upon the doll, was to torture the descendants of Mary for the rest of eternity. Finding the Satanic rituals, Gerry and Natalie pull in help from Monsignor Delegarde to help them end the curse that is haunting the town of Banfield. Delgarde, along with Gerry and Natalie, tries to perform a ritual in the church to stop this. However, Mary appears in strong possession and kills him, crushing him with a burning cross while the masses pray above.
Mary sold her soul to Satan in order to gain eternal life and power. He would allow her and her descendants, revealed to be Alice, to perform “miracles” so people would pledge themselves to her and in turn, Satan. To the shock of Gerry and Monsignor Delgarde, they learn that Bishop Gyles was aware of the entire situation but chose to keep it secret since the miracles have attracted people back to the church. Risking the eternal souls of their followers and newcomers for the praise of the Lord and the wealth it brings into the Church.
Alice urges everyone to pledge themselves to Mary three times until Gerry manages to stop the crowd from fully pledging by claiming that the miracles were just more of his hoaxes, that they were all a result of the placebo effect. Mary speaks to Alice, coaxing her to continue the ritual or never speak again. Alice realizes the demon’s grip finally and confirms that the miracles were false. The tree suddenly bursts into flames, causing all the attendants to flee as an angry Mary emerges from it. She incinerates Bishop Gyles before trying to kill Gerry. Alice noticed Mary heading to him and sacrificed herself to save him. This causes Mary to disappear, as Alice was her link to the living world. Struck by her sacrifice for his old life, Gerry begs God to save Alice’s life. She comes back to life but is once again a deaf-mute, and all the people whom Alice cured soon relapse.
The movie ends with the camera zooming slowly onto a Mother Mary statue that begins to bleed from the eyes.
Overall this was a great movie, it was a little different that your usual demon possession movies.