Monday, September 12, 2005

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A priest is on trial for negligent homicide in the death of Emily Rose who died tragically in the aftermath of an exorcism. The movie follows the trial of the priest as it unravels all the details behind Emily's life and her possession.

Scariness factor: The previews for this movie are a bit misleading as they fail to inform potential viewers that about 50-65% (if not more) of the movie consists not of the events of the possession but of the actual trial of the priest who attempted to exorcise Emily Rose. So those folks going in thinking that is a full-force horror flick are most likely going to be disappointed to have to sit through a good 60 to 75 minutes worth of court proceedings to get to the good, meaty, and spooky events of Emily Rose's possession. This wouldn't really be a FLAW of the movie so much if it weren't being MARKETED as a gung-ho exorcist movie. But it is. So I think it may disappoint most horror movie fans, especially since the story of Emily Rose is framed by this trial which also breaks up the actual spooky events in the movie, killing any possible momentum and buildup of the movie's scare-factor. The frame narrative makes the events that take place very anti-climactic and doesn't give them enough of a chance to pick up speed and deliver a wallop to the viewer at any point. However, when the possession of Emily Rose and her demons seemingly start to spill over into the lives of those involved in the court case, this does add an extra element of spookiness to the film. And lest it sound like I'm dissing the scary moments of the movie, I must admit that (for the most part) the spooky scenes are actual very well-done and convincing.

Originality: Well, seeing as I don't think the story was necessarily GOING for originality, and since I think it is of course going to suffer comparisons to The Exorcist itself, it is difficult to give it very high marks here. **HOWEVER**, The Exorcism of Emily Rose DOES do a nice job of exploring some very interesting themes about spirituality and faith in the context of the trial, and in that respect, I'd give it a couple extra points in this department.

Complaints: There are a few lames scenes in it, but even those are not terrible thankfully. As I mentioned earlier, the biggest complaint that I had was that the previews are misleading. I've had friends argue with me that the original Exorcist isn't actually a horror movie--that it's moreso a drama or a psychological thriller. And I tend to disagree with regard to THAT film. However, were they to make the same case with The Exorcism of Emily Rose, I'd probably agree with them. Oftentimes it moreso has the feel of a fairly intelligent court drama rather than a horror flick.

High Points: I once read or heard somewhere that when they were in the process of making Blatty's The Exorcist back in the 1970's, the Catholic Church was actually in support of the movie's release because they believed that if a movie could so convincingly argue for the existence of the devil (or demonic possession) that this would mean it was also convincingly able to argue for the existence of a God. And for this same reason, I can't imagine that the Catholic Church would turn its back on this movie either. It is clearly a vehicle for reaffirming faith, and a vehicle for doing that which Emily Rose apparently wanted which was to get people to believe. In that respect, I think this movie went a little bit beyond the typical horror flick and explored issues of faith and belief in a way that other movies on exorcism haven't really touched upon quite so much. The frame narrative of the trial of the priest allowed it to do this, but like I said, it also breaks up its effectiveness as a creepy-crawly exorcist movie. And yet, I didn't mind so much simply BECAUSE it made an attempt to carefully explore such issues. The movie is a tight movie; all the acting is of very high quality as well. And for these reasons, it is a very convincing movie.

Overall: All that being said, I'd definitely recommend.

Grade: B+/B



At 9:38 AM, Blogger Lindy Loo said...

Oh, and for the "real life" story that inspired THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, check out HERE and HERE

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Christian Irish said...

What I want to know is, in these modern times, why do demons only attack the Catholics?

Two things bothered me about this movie: the first is the anthropoligist's assertion that the girl's medication rendered the exorcism useless. If exorcism is even possible, wouldn't that assertion suggest that a medication could be stronger than God? As a Christian, that is an offensive notion. The other thing that bothered me is that one of the demons identified itself as "the one who dwelt inside Legion." That doesn't make sense because, as I recall from reading the Bible, Legion was a demon or rather several demons.

At 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

but the exorcism of emily rose is a true story isn't it? its not just a movie to scare people but to explain and tell what evils are surrounding us like that and shit.

At 6:55 AM, Blogger John said...

The only thing that dissapointed me about this movie was the trial.Boooring.Not what I wanted to see.yeah,some of the excorcism parts where okay,and nicely done.The talk about spirituality was good,too.But the trial.Blah,was I watching Law and Order?


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