I now wondered what came over me when I agreed to watch The Exorcism of Emily Rose with Pauline this Saturday. Maybe I thought it was a challenge for me to watch my first moviehouse horror movie. Maybe I thought it wasn't that scary.
Oh, how wrong was I.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is not your ordinary exorcism/horror movie. I should've known that when I read that it was 'based on a true story'! It follows the exploits of a lawyer (played by Laura Linney) assigned to defend a priest, Father Moore, from charges of negligence resulting in homicide. That homicide being the death of the Emily (played amazingly by Jennifer Carpenter), the teenage daughter of a devout Catholic family who was allegedly possesed by demons.
Father Moore's charges were brought upon his insistence that Emily was possessed, required exorcism and should forego medical treatment. Medical doctors were convinced she was psychotic (hence the visions) and epileptic (hence the twitching and contortionism...and how!) and required drugs. Now the courts decide. Was Emily really possessed? Or was she really sick and was Father Moore's suggestion of removing her medical treatment the cause of death? Well, the only way to know is to flashback to the actual event and find out.
By the way, this movie was based on the true life case files of a possessed girl in Germany in the 70's, on whom the character Emily Rose was based. It's also interesting to note that the case files were also used as research on how to depict an exorcism in the famous movie The Exorcist (there were very evident similarities). Oh, and for all the fans of the Japanese manga Angel Sanctuary, one of the more extravagant fallen angels in that comic book is given prominence in this movie.
I won't spoil anything for you. I know better than to spoil a horror movie. Suffice to say the movie had its thrills in spades. Lets get down to it.
My goodness, if the actress who played Emily was payed a paltry sum for this movie, I have to say she was grossly underpaid! She gave it her all in this movie. She screamed, she shouted, she did all the twitching and contorting associated with possession with such energy and authenticity that watching her was absolutely unnerving. I admit I closed my eyes often during her demonic attacks.
The cast was not your usual A-list Hollywood actors, but I guess they were going for a small-town feel to it. Everyone was at their peak. Most especially the actress who played Emily. What she did was not just an effort. Her acting was nothing short of phenomenal.
The screenplay was alright. It's purpose was to portray Emily's unfortunate life and the events thereafter, and it did its purpose without being too heavy handed. Father Moore was an inspiring character. Even when he was face-to-face with evil itself, never did he waver, instead praying for protection with the conviction of a true believer in God. No earth-shaking dialogues, no snappy banter were needed here. The visual portrayal of Emily's plight on the big screen was more than enough.
The cinematography's straightforward. Every time the movie flashbacked to Emily, the whole cinema were at the edge of their seats. They knew what was coming. Emily possessed was absolutely terrifying. You can't just look at the screen and not carry it with you when you get out of the theater, get home, and go to bed to sleep! Using quick, sharp cuts and close ups on Emily to portray her possession, the feeling of staring down the devil himself is evoked, and the movie is all the more unbearable to watch alone!
FUN FACTOR: (9/10)
This movie is not fun. It's absolutely terrifying. And rightfully so.
Overall, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a very, very terrifying movie, bumping off Night of the Living Dead as the scariest movie I have ever seen. But unlike the "Night", the movie ultimately grants Emily redemption from her plight in the end, a warning to the world that the spiritual world is real, and hope that there IS a god. In the soon immortal words of the character Emily: "People say that God is dead, but how can they believe that when I show them the Devil?"
I can't say that this movie needs improvement, for I do not know how else to do a horror movie. Basta, the movie delivered...more than anyone can know.
If you want to research on the story "Emily Rose" was based on, look up Anneliese Michel on any search engine and tell me what you think.