Virgins and Devils: I review “The Devil’s Doorway”

Virgins and Devils: I review “The Devil’s Doorway” April 4, 2019

for America:

“The Devil’s Doorway” is a found-footage film set in 1960 in a Magdalene laundry. These laundries were workhouses, initially set up for prostitutes, but were later used to indefinitely incarcerate women considered immoral for a variety of reasons, including unwed motherhood. Two priests come to the institution to investigate an anonymous letter claiming that a statue of Mary there weeps blood and that the nun in charge of the reformatory is covering up this miracle. Their investigation uncovers horrific physical cruelty, hidden graves, an underground prison and—as the title promises—the Devil himself. In spite of its flaws, the film is startlingly successful both at frightening audiences and at honoring the experiences of women held in Magdalene laundries.

more–this would be a powerful film even if it were purely an indictment of Catholicism. It’s actually something more haunting and humbling.


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