Though a self-professed non-believer, Philadelphia hairdresser Frankie (Arquette) suffers visions and stigmata that include bleeding wrists and the illusion of being lashed with a whip. Confronted by this young woman, Vatican investigator Father Andrew Kiernan (Byrne) abandons his scepticism and risks all to protect her - especially after he discovers a tangential link to a secret gospel, possibly a contemporary record of Jesus' own words, that would undermine the worldly authority so jealously guarded by his boss, the devout but devious Cardinal Houseman (Pryce). In a subtler context, the fate of Arquette's confused, frightened victim might have invested the conflict between individual belief and institutional power with a human quality. But her affecting vulnerability is drowned out by a head-banging visual and aural assault that tries to batter us into submission. A full-blooded horror film, perhaps, but a cold-blooded one, too.