Sure, there are cliches (why must possessed characters talk like Darth Vader in a bathtub?), but the film avoids the schlockier pitfalls of outright Exorcist wannabes.
Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle, 2011-01-27
This is an exorcism movie that those who actually saw The Exorcist in theaters can get into.
Kevin C. Johnson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2011-01-27
If it's a nonsensical patchwork quilt, it's mostly a watchable one, with supporting performances from Ciaran Hinds and Rutger Hauer (which is a lot of long, gloomy faces for one movie).
Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com, 2011-01-27
This is a dreary metaphysical drama dressed in the vestments of a religious horror movie.
Nigel Floyd, Time Out, 2011-02-23
The Rite goes wrong in every way.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, 2011-01-28
Starts glumly before flipping into supernatural camp.
Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail, 2011-01-28
Despite an impressive cast (excluding the excruciatingly dull O'Donoghue, a newcomer from Ireland), "The Rite" is the sort of misfire that Hollywood has long buried in January.
Lou Lumenick, New York Post, 2011-01-28
A run-of-the-mill chiller that spends an inordinate amount of time flirting with unconventional scare tactics before sacrificing all of its ingenuity to become the latest in a long line of "The Exorcist" clones.
Sean O'Connell, Washington Post, 2011-01-28
The Rite is all windup, weak delivery.
Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine, 2011-01-28
There may be redemption in store for some of his characters, but Hafstrom has some serious work ahead of him if he wants any kind of absolution after this wreck.
Ian Buckwalter, NPR, 2011-01-27
Is it the devil's work or a psychiatric disorder? That is the spurious debate that sputters along in this dull, pretentiously verbose movie that (need it be said?) enthusiastically takes the devil's side.
Stephen Holden, New York Times, 2011-01-27
There are some interesting ideas and themes in The Rite; unfortunately, an uneven tone and a disappointingly generic climax dilute them.
James Berardinelli, ReelViews, 2011-01-27
There's nothing wrong with The Rite that spinning heads and a little pea soup wouldn't cure.
Scott Bowles, USA Today, 2011-01-27
Horror fans may be disappointed by this handsome exorcism drama, which aspires to the serious religious feeling of William Friedkin's The Exorcist but delivers little of its shock or gore.
Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader, 2011-01-27
...it fails most crucially in pulling its strings together in a way that's not nearly as impressive as it's straining to be.
Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies, 2011-01-27
Dave Whitehead's sound design fills the production with ominous whooshings that sometimes overwhelm the dialogue, not that the dialogue doesn't deserve it.
Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal, 2011-01-27
A horror film that goes nowhere very, very slowly.
Tom Horgen, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2011-01-27
Perhaps one day, someone will adapt "The Rite" for two actors on stage, minus token effects, and really dig into the dynamics between its two leads. That would be something to see.
Tom Keogh, Seattle Times, 2011-01-27
As Hopkins himself goes wild-eyed and FX-ed with popping veins, The Rite gives up on asking us to take it seriously.
Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2011-01-27