"Blackwater Valley Exorcism"
Truth is stranger than
fiction...but will it make good movie? The answer is a resounding
absolutely from "Blackwater Valley Exorcism".
So what we have here
is, basically, the same exorcism story you've already seen about
a dozen times before. Catholic priest called in, with "a troubled
past", and "demons of his own", to start pounding
demon ass. In perhaps one of the most overt exorcism titles of the
last ten years, we actually kick things off with a possession. This
is not something that you see very often, but this does give it
a little extra edge. Most exorcism stories require some kind of
buildup, but here, you'll actually see a possessed person within
the first five minutes.
And yes, of course it's
a Catholic priest called in to hand this particular demon its ass.
Who else do you call in an exorcism based movie? Only one I can
think of that didn't start screaming for the diocese shock troops
is "The Visitation", which gave Randy Travis the land-speed
record for exorcisms. It's just a basic fact of the horror movie
landscape--if you got demons, you call Catholics, you put up with
a whole lot of chanting in Latin, and you get a big pot of maybe
as to whether or not they can even get rid of the thing to begin
The track record for
exorcisms is, at best, spotty. From "The Exorcist" to
"The Exorcism of Emily Rose", the priest v. demon record
is a crap shoot to say the least.
Which isn't to say this
is going to be a foregone conclusion. Proving that someone in the
movie business has been paying attention to my coverage, once again,
they've brought in the man hisself, Jeffrey Combs, to handle some
of the acting duties.
So basically, you've
got one plus in Jeffrey Combs, who will indeed yield his standard
excellent performance as part of the local constabulary. He is in
fact so good in this that I couldn't even tell for most of five
minutes that it was him. But, there's also one minus in a very familiar
plotline. Thus it'll be left to pure execution to determine just
how "Blackwater Valley Exorcism" turns out.
Give due credit to "Blackwater
Valley Exorcism"...they went for authenticity like a son of
a bitch here and they got it. Not five seconds into the movie and
they'll run a text scroll describing how the exorcism scenes were
"conducted under the supervision of Bishop Jason Spadafore",
and then proceed to give a whole bunch of reasons why this should
mean anything at all.
And I have to admit to
being impressed by the wholly innovative plot stroke of a possession
being part of some kind of master plan, as we'll discover early
on. This is not something that's done very often--usually a demonic
possession is treated like some kind of pocket natural disaster,
on par with a hurricane in someone's body. But here, it's just a
part of a much, much larger scope of events. Which is in itself
Even better, I don't
know how many of you follow Bravo, but what they call the scariest
part of "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" was the sheer capability
of the actress portraying Emily. I'll make it clear right now that
the chick handling Isabelle's part could put her in the DARK. Not
kidding. Not even close. Emily Rose was downright creepy, sure...but
I was pretty well convinced with Isabelle.
Although it's not without
fault around here--most of our Bible quoters throughout seem to
have nothing resembling a clue what they're talking about. At least
two separate citations don't even vaguely mesh with reality. Which
is, on the whole, a relatively small trouble. It doesn't get in
the way of the story at all, which is very well executed, despite
its familiarity. In fact, even though the base itself is familiar,
what they will do with it will prove to be anything but.
The ending is an absolutely
amazing plot twist, the likes of which has not yet been seen in
any exorcism movie I know of.
The special features
include Spanish subtitles, audio options, a commentary track, a
making of featurette, and trailers for "Blackwater Valley Exorcism",
"An American Haunting", "Are You Scared?", "Dark
Fields", "Black Dahlia", and "The Feeding".
All in all, I'm very
impressed. "Blackwater Valley Exorcism" manages to take
a base that should have been so familiar and so ultimately trite
as to be pointless, and yet makes something new and original from
it. In the end, a silk purse has been made from a sow's ear.
Directed by Ethan Wiley
Written by Ellary Eddy
Starring Cameron Daddo, Jeffrey Combs, James Russo, Kristin Erickson
Produced by Eric Ricart, Mark Burman
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