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Film / The Cleansing Hour

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The Cleansing Hour is a 2020 Shudder Original.

Long time friends and entrepreneurs Max and Drew have a webcast show, the titular Cleansing Hour, where they perform fake exorcisms while millions of viewers across the world watch. But one night, they bite off more than they can chew, and catch the attention of a real demon who wants Max to confess his sins.

Tropes featured in this movie include:

  • Asshole Victim: Debatable. While Max's crew was helping him with his con, they probably did not deserve to die the way they did.
  • Bad Habits:
    • The Sadist Teacher nun who forced Max and Drew to repent through horrific means such as kneeling on yardsticks with bottle caps facing upwards as they recite Hail Marys.
    • Max himself, though he was never a priest to begin with and is actually a Con Man using his Raised Catholic status to gain viewers and money from his fake altar cloths.
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  • Batman Gambit: Lane's possession was all a part of Satan's plan to get just enough airtime so he could corrupt a few million souls into mass murder.
  • Black Speech: Whatever language Satan speaks. It's also a Brown Note that probably dooms the entire world.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Lane gets possessed and used to force Max into confessing to his lies.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: As a child, Max accidentally killed the nun who was beating Drew for trying to help him in his penance.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The demon.
    Demon: (sees a crew member's fire tattoos on his wrists) Nice tattoos. What are you, some kind of tough guy?
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Student draws a picture of Satan in class? Force him to kneel on upward-facing bottle caps while he repents.
  • Downer Ending: It couldn't possibly be more of one if it tried! Satan's plan to get enough airtime to initiate The End of the World as We Know It has most likely succeeded, with millions of people the world over having been driven to murderous rampages. Additionally, Max seems to have learned absolutely nothing from the torments that he's been through, still being a self-absorbed asshole who doesn't seem to care at all that the world has been plunged into chaos, because he got his blue Twitter checkmark.
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  • Drag Queen: Dante/Scarlett is one hired for the latest webcast that ends up going horribly awry. They're dragged off by demons as they're looking for the studio.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Very strongly implied at the end. Millions of Max's viewers possessed, going on worldwide rampages, even the president of the United States is murdered by his own son. It's pretty safe to assume that the world is screwed. A man holding up a sign in the end credits spells it out in case it wasn't obvious already.
  • Evil Chef: Justified, as the chefs were possessed by Satan's incantation when they started killing the non-possessed.
  • For Want of a Nail: A really dark example. If Max had just cut the feed at the end like Lane urged, then Satan wouldn't have been able to broadcast his message.
  • Hope Spot: Aamon is successfully cast out from Lane at the end, and everything seems to be on its way back to relative normality, until the charred corpse of one of the crew members rises to his feet, and Satan breaks free from the shell, speaking some Brown Note incantation while millions of viewers watch and are possessed.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: The nun forced Max to recite his penance without help from Drew, and if Drew tried to help him, she'd grip the back of his head tighter.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Whenever you expect that Max is about to show he has a decent side, he just comes up with a bunch of shallow excuses for the next awful thing the demon reveals about him. At the end, he smiles when he sees that he's been verified, even though the entire world has probably just fallen into chaos.
  • Noble Demon: Averted with Aamon. He seems to at first be trying to force Max to confess his wrongs, but he brutally kills several of his crew members and repeatedly threatens to kill the innocent Lane. Then any traces of the "noble" part is averted wholesale with The Reveal that it was all a gambit by Satan to bring the human race to its knees.
  • Nuns Are Spooky: And sadistic, at that. Played straight when Max is confronted with an apparition of the nun who tormented him and Drew as children.
  • Self-Made Orphan: The president's son, no less!
  • Sexy Priest: Max has a lot of groupies. Then it turns out he's not a priest after all.
  • Shameful Strip: Not taking the exorcism seriously, one of Max's groupies suggests he strips to help save Lane. The demon agrees with the suggestion, so he has little choice in the matter. Then he's forced to hurt himself to go any further.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In most versions of the Ars Goetia, "Aamon" is spelled with a single "A".
  • Wham Line: Several towards the climax, but one in particular stands out.
    Charred corpse: It was my database.note 

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