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< Entertainment >

New Movie Reviews

"Exorcism of Emily Rose "

by Michael Handorf
handorf@comcast.net

Laura Linney. Tom Wilkinson. Drama/Thriller.

Synopsis: A Catholic priest is on trial for the death of a 19 year-old college student whom he believes was possessed by a demon.

Review: This is a PG-13 movie about an exorcism – what more do I need to write?
Really, this film played more like a courtroom drama than a horror film. It was like a two-hour episode of Law & Order: Demonic Intent or Law & Order: Special Possession Unit (one of which is rumored to be in pre-production for the spring 2006 television season).

Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter) is a 19 year-old college student who is also a devout Catholic. She has an ‘encounter’ after which the doctors at the university clinic diagnose her as epileptic. When the situation worsens, her family removes her from school and seeks the guidance of the family’s priest.

The priest, Father Richard Moore (Wilkinson), suggests that Emily cease filling her prescription for Gambutrol. He seeks the permission of the Church to conduct an exorcism. Once granted, he begins the process one rainy Halloween evening, but things go horribly wrong and Emily dies just days later.

Erin Bruner (Linney) is the attorney hired by the archdiocese to defend Father Moore. She is a non-believer on a recent hot streak.

Ethan Thomas (Campbell Scott) is the district attorney prosecuting the case. Being a devout Protestant, he is convinced that the ‘possession’ was a form of psychosis brought on by the epilepsy and the cessation of Emily’s prescription.

The acting is first class, as one might expect from this ensemble. But the marketing behind the movie was flawed – what was presented as a suspenseful horror film was really a drama. The legal aspects consumed nearly two-thirds of the film, leaving only 1/3 for the exorcism, which is told in fragments via flashback sequences and testimony.

The demon that possesses Emily Rose (if you believe she was, in fact, possessed, and not suffering from epileptic seizures and psychosis) suffers from a staggering lack of imagination and creativity. Certainly the demon could have conjured up more material than just speaking in six foreign languages. There were no personal attacks of any kind. Linda Blair would be ashamed.

Wait for Netflix or wait for the film to appear on the much anticipated Law & Order / CSI channel that should be arriving on cable any day now.

OVERALL GRADE: B-

Scenes from the Movie:

"The Exorcism of Emily Rose"

 

 

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