After the abomination of a film called Van Helsing I wrote about yesterday (trying hard to suppress the memory of this picture), today I have a great horror movie for you. Let’s check out The Exorcism of Emily Rose!
Emily Rose was a 19-year old college student when she died. How did she pass away? Self-inflicted wounds and malnutrition following an exorcism. The priest who performed the ritual is no on trial…
If you expect a revamped version of the iconic 70s film The Exorcist, this is not the film for you. As much as The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a horror film it is also (maybe even to a larger degree) a court drama. I may sound like those two things don’t go together but in this case, it works splendidly.
The film is inspired by the true story of Anneliese Michel from Germany who died in 1976 – after an exorcism. Reading through the Wikipedia page of that incident I realized how much Jennifer Carpenter (who plays Emily Rose) looks like Anneliese Michel – it’s downright chilling!
What I like about this movie is that the horror operates on different levels. First of all, there is Emily herself. She’s alone, she’s frightened, she knows something is wrong with her. Suffering from seizures and visions she is prescribed drugs by a doctor but they fail to help her. In her desperation, Emily and her family (all very devout people) turn to their local priest for help.
Together with this psychological level of horror, we get to see her visions and seizures which are frightening enough. I like how the film approaches both ideas, possession as well as epilepsy/psychological issues, with the same respect. During the court case, experts are found for both sides and convincing arguments are made. Even if you are an atheist (like myself) you might be able to see why a very devout person would consider Emily as possessed and relent to exorcism as last resort. You don’t have to believe in any of that stuff to be able to understand the people involved.
Although the judge passed a verdict, we never really find out whether she was indeed possessed or just suffering from a condition. I appreciate that the film leaves that decision up to the audience without trying to discredit one or the other side. In terms of courtroom drama, this film is well made and it was fascinating to follow the trial.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose isn’t the best film that’s out there, granted. I could have done without the maybe/maybe not supernatural influences on Laura Linney. And some moments were a bit too teary-eyed for me.
Overall, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is an interesting take on the genre that comes with a twist. It’s not your regular horror flick but certainly has its creepy moments. Not perfect but fascinating enough!
Did you watch this horror film? Let me know in the comments!