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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First of all "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" is not a well crafted film.
The hollow plot devices and dialogues are laughably stale,
cinematography and editing are lacking any style and the scares simply
fall flat. A cast of usually brilliant performers delivers uninspired,
phone-in performances. Of course, I could dismiss this flick as a dumb,
misguided, scare-free piece of drivel. Unfortunately, it's much worse
Like most pictures dealing with the subject, this film actually treats demonic possession as real and thus depicts the practice of exorcism not only as viable but as a necessary tool against the forces of evil. This generally makes exorcism pictures propaganda material for a rather medieval method still covered by today's catholic doctrine. Now, it's not that I generally oppose the catholic faith, but this particular practice is despicable. While most pictures of this horror sub-genre go more for simple scares than philosophical discussion, this film takes a stance for exorcism by putting the conflict in a court room.
The filmmakers make a big deal out of the fact that the film is based on a true story, suggesting that the case of "Emily Rose" substantiates the existence of demonic possession and that all the people involved were in fact not unscrupulous religious fanatics, but upright men of faith. If you are familiar with the true case, which took place in Germany in the late 1970s, this depiction will strike you as disgusting and cynical spin doctoring. An obscene, exploitative propaganda piece void of any integrity or empathy for authentic human suffering. Anneliese Michel (the "real" Emily) and her grueling fate are not treated with the proper respect.
In short, Michel was a deeply religious, though psychologically disturbed young woman, who was basically tortured to death by a her parents and some priest, because everyone involved agreed that her epileptic convulsions and tourette-like rantings were clear signs of demonic possessions. Severely beaten up, with her front teeth knocked out(all supposedly by the demon inside her) she died of starvation after days of exorcism. The practice of exorcism had been made fairly popular in catholic circles through the smash hit success of Willam Friedkin's The Exorcist a few years earlier, so it was a small leap of faith for Michel, her family and that priest to believe exorcism was a viable option. After Michel's death copies of an audio taping of her exorcism became a very popular device to promote the catholic cause in church groups - basically making Michel a poster child for exorcism. Two years after Michel's death, her parents and her exorcist were convicted, but came off with ridiculously short jail sentences.
Treated with the proper respect and integrity and with some actual brains behind the project this film could have made some powerful statements about fanaticism and homicidal tendencies, if it only had stayed true to it's source material. The true story of Anneliese Michel is a haunting testament to the cruelty of men. It could make for a very intense, grueling drama. "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" is quite the opposite. It's an unwilling farce, exploiting the sad, cruel fate of Michel, using cheap shock effects and cheesy story-lining.
It is beyond me why such brilliant actors as Laura Linney, Campbell Scott (two of my absolute favorite actors) and Tom Wilkinson would have participated in this horribly, ill-conceived borefest. After all, they have been known to usually star in intelligent, independent-minded films. This is just a clumsy exploitation flick pandering to the religious right (who made this cheap movie a box office-success). It saddens me to think they did it for the money, but it saddens me even more to think that they actually believed this film to be a project of integrity.
The torture of psychologically disturbed Anneliese is turned into the saintly martyrdom of Emily, who decides upon meeting Mother Mary halfway into the exorcism, that she would rather have some more fatal demonic torture than being let into heaven right away - because that is the true way of showing Satan and his pals who's boss (beats me how that works). All of this is being told through some corny letter from Emily that the exorcist reads out aloud while in the witness stand. The jury then decides, that even though he is clearly guilty, he should not be put in prison, because he's not a homicidal fanatic, but rather a nice old man who stands by his faith. The judge agrees and let's good old Tom Wilkinson go. Of course, by this time (close to the end credits) the film has already established that the priest actually is right - since we can see the demon doing all sorts of shenanigans: harassing Laura Linney's lawyer lady and stopping her watch at 3am (the demonic witching hour, we learn - by the way, the only demonic thing going on at that time around where I live is Larry King interviewing Dr.Phil and other phonies), yanking poor Emily around, widening her pupils to give her what can only be described as Demonovision, making her play piano and letting her speak Aramaic, Latin and of course, the ever evil German (so the demon is musical and multilingual - neat, eh?). To make the whole thing a fair and balanced experience for the audience, Campbell Scott's disgruntled prosecutor gets to show his cynical debunked view of events, but it's clearly established through light switches moving by themselves, some kooky doctor witness mysteriously getting run over by a car, a lame version of aforementioned audio tape (the true recording is terrifying, by the way) and some silly locket with the defender's initials, that there are definitely divine and hellish forces battling it out here.
So in the end this film cheesily gives a thumbs up to exorcism, while using the horrific true story of a victim of that very practice as a basis. It's sickening.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is based upon a true story, the events that
lead up to the death of Emily Rose. Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter) was
a young college student, who believed she was possessed. Her family and
her pastor did everything they could to save her.
This was not your typical horror flick. Though there are some scary scenes throughout, this story is more about Emily Rose and her story. A story that her pastor, Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson), tries desperately to tell during his trial. Erin Bruner (Laura Linney), Moore's attorney, tries to defend Moore whom she believes is a good man. This movie scares you without confirming Emily Rose's possession. Despite the horror angle, this movie is also about self-sacrifice, love and loyalty.
I think horror movie fans might be disappointed with this, however, I thought it was really good. A scary movie with a good plot and a good message.
This is properly one the most disgusting films ever made.
In the mid-70th a German girl was killed by a Catholic priest and her deeply religious parents. The murder took place in the form of an exorcism performed because of the girl's epilepsy and borderline personality.
I could have accepted the concept of plain horror movie based on that story, but to turn this sad event into a defence for cold religious fanatics that killed in the name of God - and for two of them even their own daughter - makes me wanna p***.
Taking into consideration the fact, that more and more innocent people are being killed directly and indirectly by religious fanatics of various kinds through wars and acts of terrorism, just makes the purpose of this film even more disgusting.
If you want to see a horror movie about exorcism go see an "The Exorcist" movie - if you want to see the true story about the case this movie claims to be based on go see the German movie "Requim" (2006).
Scott Derricksen's well-executed multi-layered film works both as a
psychological horror and a gripping courtroom drama. He was so inspired
by the novel and intrigued by the issues presented that he ended up
making this movie. It shows that he has done extensive research.
What I liked about the horror element is that even though there are a few jumps, it does not derail into ridicule. The director doesn't overdo any violence, blood, scary faces and whatever. Derricksen uses a lot of silence which leaves the viewer in a heightened state of suspense desperately wondering what will break the silence. His use of colour is clever and it sets a chilling atmosphere. You can see hints of Dario Argento and Gaspar Noé. For example the red lit corridor in Emily's dorm looks eerily like that underground subway passage in 'Irréversible'. The exorcism scenes are quite chilling (unlike the unintentionally funny ones in 'The Exorcist'). The courtroom sequences raise some interesting questions about scientific reasoning versus the unknown and unexplained. I was impressed that it didn't become one of those God versus Science movies but the Shohreh Agdashloo track left a lot to be desired.
In addition to being a well crafted film, the performances are among the highlights. Tom Wilkinson gives a phenomenal subtle performance. A ravishing Laura Linney is equally electrifying from the yuppie ambitious lawyer to one whose internal conflict makes her doubtful. Jennifer Carpenter delivers an astonishing performance. It couldn't have been an easy part to pull off and would have been easier to mess up but she does a solid job. It definitely makes Linda Blair's bad performance (in the 'Exorcist') look miserable.
I'm not much of a horror movie fan, mostly because they tend to be ridiculous and end up being funny or boring rather than having the intended effect. It will be wrong to lable 'The Exorcism of Emily Rose' is much more than just another horror flick because it does raise questions and tackles some issues without coming to a definitive conclusion (as there are simply no answers to some things that happen).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Emily Rose is a devout Catholic who undergoes a shocking and unexpected transformation while at college.Her family asks Father Moore to perform an exorcism.When Emily dies,Moore is charged with criminally negligent homicide.Laura Linney plays Erin Bruner,the lawyer hired to defend Moore."The Exorcism of Emily Rose" is based on a true facts.This is a highly ambitious horror flick that has its share of suspense and scares.It mixes elements of courtroom drama with possession flick in the vein of "The Exorcist".Laura Linney,Tom Wilkinson and Campbell Scott are all great,as is Jennifer Carpenter as Emily Rose.There are a few good scares with director Scott Derrickson using awkward pauses of silence mixed with a few furious demonic scenes to build and keep steady tension.Unfortunately the film is occasionally quite dull during its courtroom segments,however it surely asks a lot of important questions about our faith or beliefs.So if you enjoyed "The Exorcist" or "Omen" you may give this one a look.Fans of sleaze/gore will be disappointed.7 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a Catholic Priest I was VERY interested in this movie! I have never done an exorcism but I know several priests who have. There are lots of good books & articles on real exorcisms available today & I wish somebody would make a film which reflects the successful outcome of most exorcisms. The case of Annelise Michel (Emily Rose) in Germany in 1976 is one of the saddest cases in the past 2000 years. In addition to having severe medical disorders & possibly being tormented by a dark spiritual force, the young girl also starved herself to death ... & her parents & 2 priests allowed her to do so! The film is really about 2 separate but related true stories: 1)Emily's "possession" by a demon 2)Emily's tragic death by self-starvation. The courtroom scenes do a pretty good job of explaining the differences between medical/psychological disorders & demonic possession. The film does NOT explain why Emily's parents & priests did not get her medical help as soon as she stopped eating. The film implies that this tragic neglect was part of the official Exorcism Rite of the Catholic Church. NO WAY! When priests perform an exorcism (a priest is NEVER allowed to perform an exorcism alone) there is usually a doctor or nurse present who monitors the medical condition of the victim/patient. Some exorcisms are even done in hospitals. Allowing someone to starve herself to death is NOT part of the Rite of Exorcism! It is also an inhumane act of negligence! For an accurate description & text of the Rite of Exorcism, Google-search "Rite of Exorcism" & read for yourself. The movie did make my heart beat a little faster for a few minutes & it made me think ... two things which make a good movie. But I hope people are intelligent enough to realize that most exorcisms have a "happy ending" ... the case of Emily Rose is a rare & very sad exception.
The film "Exorcism of Emily Rose" is blatant propaganda, all but
unwatchable for its cringe-inducing transparency. Its first purpose is
not to tell a story but is instead to persuade viewer that exorcism -
and therefore the Devil and God - are real entities.
The story centres on a courtroom, used as a vehicle to "prove" the case of the film makers. The courtroom drama is interposed with cuts of the "posssesion" which are designed to add verisimilitude to their case, but which I find disingenuous.
The use of an "anthropologist" as a "scientific" witness to back their case yet further is appalling, especially when contrasted with the frailty of the medical evidence given in support of the prosecution (that is, in opposition to the film makers views).
I concluded this film is really about "science versus religion", and that its maker believes such a debate exists to be won; a proposition that surely is most unwelcome.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When dealing in matters of faith many people tread lightly. Sometimes
it because we want to be sensitive and not offend. Other may fear that
their agendas may air on the side of propaganda rather than
inspiration. In the case of THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE I believe the
film makers committed an even bigger sin, they made a film that was
just plain stupid.
When young Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter, Whit Chicks) went off to college she thought all her dreams were coming true. That is until the six demons climbed into her body, one claiming to be Lucifer himself. The medical community thinks she may have epilepsy and so they put her on meds. Her parish Priest Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson, In The Bedroom) suggests a higher form of intervention and performs and exorcism on her. Now Emily Rose is dead and it's up to a hotshot Lawyer (Lauren Linney, You Can Count On Me) to defend Father Moore's actions and to keep him out of jail.
Director and Co-Screenwriter Scott Derickson (Hellraiser:Inferno) claims to have invented the first Horror/Courtroom Drama. I think he's right, and after sitting through this film I know why it took so long for it to happen. It doesn't work Not only because you cannot stop and think for one moment that this is how a courtroom is run. But mostly because you're not quite sure why Father Moore is up on the stand and not the doctor (Duncan Fraiser, The Claim) who was checking her vitals the whole time, Emily's Father, and/or Emily's Boyfriend who were all there at the scene of the crime . They were all present and did nothing to stop it. Why the heck do you only charge Father Moore with the crime? If you go to this movie thinking it's a horror film your seriously mistaken. It's more like the worst written episode of Law and Order you've ever seen. Courtroom cliché's abound, even a minor character who can shed light on the situation is bumped off. Why? Well for once it was an accident, or was it an act of God? The plot thickens, okay not really.
The sad part is that there could have been a compelling movie here. Emily Rose's story could have been fascinating. But alas for a film in which the Father Moore spouts out a half dozen times "I need to tell Emily's story." We only scratch the surface of who Emily Rose was? Why was she possessed? I can't for one moment believe it was for the half-baked and silly reason the film claims. What was she like before she went to college? Except for on old house full of cats and parents whom I might consider a little odd the film never delves into that.
Instead of telling Emily's story the film focuses on a trail that is so convoluted and silly that I almost burst out laughing. The final argument for Father Moore's innocence is that "There are No Facts Only Possibilities." Give me a break, what kind of numb-skull logic is that? Did Linney's character get a law degree off the back of a fortune cookie? That's not to say their aren't some redeeming qualities to the film. Lauren Linney and Campbell Scott (The prosecutor) do a tremendous job with a half baked script, and while he should probably stick to directing Scott Derrickson shows that he could make a nice moody Horror film if given the right material.
THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE misses the mark so badly its pretty much unredeemable. It's almost a shame because you can tell that a great many minds worked hard to make a film that asked us to explore our faith "with fear and trembling." Next time forget platitudes and try to tell a good story. Because good intentions, with poor plotting and sloppy story telling make a joke of any message you might try to foist on your audience.
I liked the idea of this a whole lot.
Laura Linney was at the edge of her competence here, but she's close.
The idea is simple. We have the courtroom movie. Its a form that allows nesting or folding of stories in various ways. Its been extended in all sorts of ways, including Kurosawa and Christie. Why not extend it so that the story within is another movie genre?
Why not? And then flatten it into a set of questions about reality, the stories we make in reality. Its a movie where he folks in the movie look at us and wonder what makes a true story. In the film, the question is whether the priest is true about this girl being possessed, a story that has been fabricated over thousands of years. Or whether "common sense" tells you otherwise.
Outside the movie, the reflection is on the relevance of story at all. And why would we willingly choose story over "truth" anyway? We often do, even when the story is that we are not.
Unfortunately, the filmmaker once again had bigger ideas than he had skill.
But its a noble idea nonetheless.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
I love movies like The Exorcist, and Ghostbusters, which are admitted
works of fiction, but this one attempts to claim it's based on a true
story, and sounds more like religious propaganda against skepticism and
science that conflicts with people's personal feelings and world-views.
Remember when people thought "The Amittyville Horror" was a true story? Turns out the family that lived in that house made up all the ghost stories to get attention and money from the movie rights. They confessed to it. Studios continued giving the public what they wanted with more sequels and remakes of this confessed lie, all for the sake of profit.
This film is based on something that supposedly happened in Germany in the 1970's, and now it's a film put in theaters, charging $10 a person, where it takes place in America in present day, playing to a population of 300,000,000 people who 85% believe in God, and 75% are Christian. That's a lot of money to be made. Just ask Mel Gibson, and the creators of Narnia.
The only message of this film is, skeptics are just crabby and not realistic, and anything that's weird or coincidental in life has a purpose, and anything new to science is spiritually related. Science and reason are the bad guys, while irrational hopes for the fantastic to be true are more than hopes. It's a feel-good movie for people who fear or dislike skepticism. There is an attempt to make it sound like a balanced ending when she talks about "possibilities", but that's inconsistent with the rest of the film which says "demons are real, demons are real, demons are real!".
Most people would rather believe the film's message because most paying customers don't consider skepticism an option, but yet want to make sense of this "spiritual world", without even considering once that the REASON the spirit world doesn't make any sense because it doesn't exist in the first place, so a movie like this will get high marks, even if it were shot with a home camcorder, and acted with the local neighbors.
I call a mistrial.
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