The film stars Olivia Taylor Dudley, Kathleen Robertson, Michael Peña, Djimon Hounsou, Dougray Scott, and John Patrick Amedori, and was released on July 24, 2015, by Lionsgate.
In the Vatican, Vicar Imani (Djimon Hounsou) shows Cardinal Bruun (Peter Andersson) the case of Angela Holmes (Olivia Taylor Dudley), a young American woman who is suspected of harboring an evil spirit.
Three months earlier in the United States, Angela is given a surprise birthday party by her father, Roger (Dougray Scott), and boyfriend, Peter "Pete" Smith (John Patrick Amedori). While slicing her cake, she cuts herself and is rushed to the hospital, where she briefly meets with Father Lozano (Michael Peña). She is injected with a serum that causes an infection; at home, she experiences a seizure and is placed under care at a hospital. A few days later, Angela is released, but on the way, she violently takes the wheel, causing an accident that puts her in a coma for 40 days. Just as her life support is about to be switched off, Angela comes round, seemingly in perfect health.
However, Angela begins to show symptoms of demonic possession when she almost drowns a baby, followed by forcing a detective (Jarvis W. George) to commit suicide. Lozano chooses to send her to a psychiatric hospital. A distraught Roger then confesses that Angela's mother was a prostitute; she was pregnant just a few months after Roger met her before she abruptly left, implying that Roger merely adopted Angela. Angela's possession becomes even worse as she frequently sleepwalks, taunts her psychiatrist, Dr. Richards (Kathleen Robertson), eventually culminating in her speaking in Aramaic that induces hysteria and mass suicide in her fellow patients. Deciding that nothing can save her, the hospital releases her.
The movie returns to the timeframe of the prologue. Bruun concludes that Angela is possessed by the Antichrist due to the presence of the crows around her, which are agents of Satan, and instructs Imani to stay back while he personally heads to the United States to cure Angela. An exorcism he plans involves a Eucharist, where Angela reacts by vomiting blood and spitting three eggs, meant to symbolize a perverted Trinity. Bruun also comments that her birth from a prostitute perverts the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. Bruun then realizes that the Antichrist is already a part of Angela; killing him would mean Angela's death as well. However, just after Bruun kills Angela, she rises up as the resurrected Antichrist, mirroring the Resurrection of Jesus, and proceeds to kill Bruun, Roger, and Pete. She spares Lozano, though, and tells him to inform the Vatican that the Antichrist is roaming the Earth.
Three months later, Lozano, having been released from the hospital, visits the Vatican and is allowed access to the archives by Imani. He is shown footage of what has happened since: Angela returns as the only "survivor" of the exorcism besides Lozano and is now performing miracles to gather followers. The film ends with Angela entering a large room to greet her followers by stretching out her arms.
Principal photography began in July 2013 in Los Angeles.
The Vatican Tapes opened theatrically on July 24, 2015 in 427 venues, earning $832,271 in its first weekend, ranking fifteenth in the United States box office and last among the week's new releases. The film finished its theatrical run four weeks later, on August 20, having grossed $1,784,763 domestically. Overseas, the film made $11,680,747, giving the film a worldwide total of $13,465,510, based on an estimated $13 million budget,.
The film received generally negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 20%, based on 36 reviews, with an average rating of 4/10. On Metacritic the film has a score of 37 out of 100, based on 11 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". IGN awarded it a score of 2.5 out of ten, saying "It exists without any real scares or chills, and only the smallest attempt to differentiate itself."