Mom’s Movie Week: The Exorcism of Emily Rose

The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a courtroom drama with a horror element as it follows the court case of Father Richard Moore after a young girl dies during an exorcism. It grapples with questions of the existence of God and thus the devil.

Ok. So the legal drama part of this movie is pretty interesting, it’s all the supernatural elements where I find myself getting pretty lost. Exorcism movies are easy. The concept itself is already scary and adding the scientific doubter’s viewpoint does complicate the traditional narrative well. It’s a new way to tell an exorcism story, which I applaud. However, do I think they necessarily succeeded without a reasonable doubt? No.

Based on the true story of Anneliese Michel, a German teen who died of starvation and malnutrition in 1952 after routine exorcisms, the story tells the story of Emily Rose who is going through the same things. The story itself is an interesting one, and for the most part the viewer has to decide what side to believe. The courtroom scenes are genuinely interesting, even if they copped out big time at the end. But still, the legal parts of the movie are solid. The horror parts of the film however, are not so scary. For a film titled, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, the exorcism scares are pretty low. Understandably, it is based on a true story, so I would assume they had to stay at least generally faithful to their source material and sometimes going over and above the scare line retracts from the actual story. So I can understand that move. Still, people going in for a straight horror flick are going to find a lot more Law and Order: Exorcism Unit and less Conjuring 2.

Its more the technical execution of the film that I have the majority of my issues with. The lighting is dark, but not in a foreboding way, more like in a not-well-shot way. There are a couple of shaky cam jump cut kinds of shots that don’t add to the horror or the tone. They just distract the viewer.Certain scenes could have been more solid, but the editing was a little off. It just felt low budget, when it realistically had a budget of 19 million dollars.

In the end, I just wish they left it ambiguous. That was the best part of the film, the constant wondering of what was reality and what was fiction. It was interesting. But when they start hammering you over the head with the “right” viewpoint, it seems too one-sided and it loses its original premise. My mom would argue the ending justifies the film entirely, but in this case it really is up to the individual viewer. I won’t spoil anything, but the end will either make or break the whole movie for some people. It’s really up to you.

Amy’s Recommendation: 5/10

Mom’s Thoughts:
“I believe the message is important because people don’t believe it anymore. The devil is real, and stories like this need to be told. I liked the ending, and I think the fact that it is based on a real girl who suffered through the same experiences really hammers home that the devil is real and these things aren’t just in fiction.”
10/10

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