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
Based on the true story of Anneliese Michel, a young German woman who suffered a similar fate to the fictional Emily Rose in the 1970s, and "The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel", an account of the subsequent court case by expert witness Felicitas D. Goodman, an anthropologist called in as an expert on possession. Michel's parents and the two priests who performed her exorcism were prosecuted, though the prosecution asked that the parents be excused from punishment as they had "suffered enough". Ultimately, the accused were found guilty of manslaughter resulting from negligence, and the two clergymen were sentenced to six months in jail (which was later suspended) and three years of probation. The most significant differences are that Michel periodically fasted for several months as part of her exorcism and remained on medication until her death, while the fictional Rose was incapable of eating due to demonic forces and decided herself to stop taking her medication with the consent of her care-providers. The story was heavily adapted for cinematic purposes. 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 »
Very thrilling, but the ending leaves you longing for more
Yes, I know, we've seen too many mediocre horror movies in the past few years. Yes, I'm fed up with horror stories that are "based on true events", too, but don't write this movie off too soon. If you ignore the assertion that this has all happened in reality and just accept that you're in for a supernatural movie, you'll have a gay ol' time with "The Exorcism Of The Emily Rose".
The first thing to mention is that there has never been a combination of horror movie and courtroom drama before, and while some reviewers have stated that the two genres don't go together well, I have to disagree. The courtroom setting added a lot of suspense to the story and horror movies always work best when there is suspense added to the spooky and creepy elements. And boy, does this movie have some creepy scenes.
The four main actors do a fine job and the restrained direction is pretty atmospheric too, except for some minor fashionable shots that are probably not going to age very well (for example, one time Scott Derrickson reverts to Darren Aronofsky-cam, which is already getting old). Anyway, the main attraction is the story itself, and as I've said, it's fast paced and exciting - at least until the third act. Up until that point it's hard to watch the screen at times because Derrickson uses his shock scenes so effectively and steers clear of any jump-clichés. Then a certain climax is reached, the movie reduces its supernatural elements and relies maybe a bit too much on the courtroom drama aspect. On the plus side Derrickson avoids going over the top like so many other horror movies do including embarrassing CGI-orgies in their showdowns. On the other hand, it is exactly that relatively quiet ending that prevents "The Exorcism Of Emily Rose" from becoming a real classic. One just has the feeling that the priest and the trial made a whole lot of fuss about nothing, because there's no real solution in the end.
"The Exorcism Of Emily Rose" has enough chilling moments not to be overshadowed by "The Exorcist", the big Kahuna of the exorcism genre, but it's not going to be remembered as a cornerstone of the horror genre. In 2005 you couldn't find a lot of spooky movies that were better than this one, though.
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