A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.
When a younger girl called Emily Rose dies, everyone puts blame on the exorcism which was performed on her by Father Moore prior to her death. The priest is arrested on suspicion of murder. The trail begins with lawyer Erin Bruner representing Moore, but it is not going to be easy, as no one wants to believe what Father Moore says is true. Written by
According to a newspaper article the character Erin reads towards the beginning of the movie, Emily was 18 and attended Danbury State University. See more »
The prosecutor is only partially correct in that humans have two sets of vocal cords (they are properly known as vocal "folds"). He calls them "duel sets," consisting of the "superior vocal cords" and the "primary ones." They are correctly known colloquially as "true vocal folds" and "false vocal folds." The FVF are called "false" because they are made up of membrane, whereas the true folds have a deep layer of muscle tissue and can be controlled. The FVF can be recruited by powerful airflow and/or by disciplined muscular movements by the muscles surrounding them. However, they cannot be "activated" in the sense that a muscle can, and would not produce a different "voice." At most, some harmonic overtones or vibratory interference (such as that heard in Tibetan chanting) might be heard. The prosecutor uses the term "dual voices" as if it means two separate actual voices, as if "voice" was being produced by two distinct sets of vocal folds, which is not possible in humans. The writers confused it with some individuals' ability to produce two different fundamental frequencies by vibrating each of the true vocal folds at different rates, but the act of forming words is not determined at the vocal fold level, but by resonances created by the positions of the articulators in the vocal tract. See more »
[Father Moore begins the exorcism of Emily Rose]
It has begun. Let us pray.
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Opening statement: This film is based on a true story. See more »
Not without its flaws, but a cut above most horror films
For the most part, films which were intended to frighten the viewing audience usually succeed in instead producing involuntary laughs. So it was nice to see a 'horror' film that not only has a brain for a change, but actually succeeds in being frightening. It may help that the film is allegedly based on true events, which gives credibility to the storyline, and prevents the movie from having those annoyingly gaping plot holes. And indeed, the heading "Based on a true story" doesn't come off as a glaring lie. There are indeed events happening in the film which are questionable as to whether they actually occurred in real life, but the beauty of 'Emily Rose' is that most of the film is retold by various characters, so the events described are as the character perceived them. In this way, the film doesn't distance its audience by declaring that "well, demons were in the film which was 'based on a true story', so demons must actually exist".
But in many ways, 'Emily Rose' is different from almost every past horror movie in the sense that it doesn't make really obvious attempts to frighten its audience. Instead, director/co-screenwriter Scott Derickson seems content to make us think. There are several questions raised in the film regarding religious beliefs and the public's general perception of them, but these are all handled in an objective and impartial manner. And as for the scare factor, since the filmmakers aren't overly obvious in trying to scare the audience, the film actually is frightening at several points - again, unusual for a horror film. The frightening events regarding Emily Rose's exorcism are all the more frightening as they don't seem horribly staged and predictable. (although the cheesy demonic animation, as shown in the trailer, could have been done far better) It's true that composer Christopher Young seems unable to resist the horror movie cliché of having horribly over-dramatic music which builds to a climax at the most frightening moment, but for the most part the movie is able to surpass the usual horror clichés.
It helps of course that the cast all deliver quality performances, the obvious standout being Jennifer Carpenter as Emily. Her possession scenes are nothing short of incredible, the sheer torment she seems capable of portraying is utterly captivating. Laura Linney also shines in the lead, giving a powerful and affecting performance as the attorney of the convicted priest who performed Emily Rose's exorcism. As said priest, Tom Wilkinson also manages to impress, delivering a quietly effective and very human performance. My only complaint is that the characters of Campbell Scott and Colm Feore were really badly written, coming off as the typical antagonistic figures, and nothing more. Both give satisfying performances, despite their one dimensional characters, especially Feore, who has always been talented at taking terribly written characters, and giving them life and personality nonetheless.
So The Exorcism of Emily Rose may not quite be the very best of its genre, but it certainly proves to be one of the more intelligently made ones. The director seems to have for once taken that extra step, and put aside the endless thrills and shocks in favor of making us think a bit. There are some cheesy effects, such as the demonic visions, but there are some genuinely frightening parts, especially the actual exorcism scene, mainly due to the chilling and captivating performance from Jennifer Carpenter as the title character. The principle cast members, Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson also give strong performances, bringing many layers to their characters. Quite the quality piece overall, and one worth seeing.
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