BUY FROM AMAZON: CLICK HERE!
STUDIO: MPI Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 101 minutes
- Making of Exorcismus
The Last Exorcism made money, right?
Written by David Munoz. Directed by Manuel Carballo. Acted by Sophie Vavasseur, Stephen Billington, Jo-Anne Stockham, Richard Felix, Tommy Bastow and Doug “Pinhead” Bradley.
A teenage goth\emo chick summons the Devil after cutting her hand and painting a demonic sigil on the floor with her blood. He possesses her and causes her to do bad things like almost drowning her little brother and asserting her sexuality on bewildered friends. Luckily, her Uncle is a Catholic priest with some previous exorcism experience, so he moves in and starts getting all Father Merrin on her. That’s… pretty much it.
I mean, Exorcismus isn’t that bad by any means, but it’s not that great either. It just kind of sits there without adding anything new to the genre or even being that scary, really. But it’s competently directed and acted with only one genuinely stupid moment that I noticed. The problem is that it’s all very safe in regards to the crazy shit they have the poor possessed actress do; safe in how anything truly dark and disturbing tends to take place off camera or it cuts away before the good stuff is about to happen and safe in how it’s scripted, with not one original beat in the film’s entire running time. I know I sound like I’m being really hard on the film, but it kept me interested and entertained for the entire running time, but I was never fully invested in the characters or the fact that they were all about to be molested by Satan’s thorny cock. Or so I assumed.
Sophie Vavasseur is perfectly fine as Emma, the poor girl possessed by the Devil. She vomits blood very well and looks good while rolling her eyes and talking with an over-dubbed Satany voice. The problem is that she comes across in the script as too much of a victim from the start, so we never get a sense of her strength or purpose as a character. She is just a device for things to happen through instead of a fully formed, three dimensional person to empathize and sympathize with. Her parents (well played by Jo-Anne Stockham and Richard Felix) are intensely unlikable science folk who at some points seem more interested in debating the theological implications of what’s happening instead of worrying about their evil little girl. The fact that she had to be raised by them makes her more sympathetic for sure, but it’s just not enough. Uncle Christopher the Catholic priest (Billington) is another cipher added to the story that seems more cut and pasted from exorcism genre cliches than an actual character with motivations and desires. Again, all the actors are fine, but the script gives them next to nothing to do. Oh, and Doug “Pinhead” Bradley is in it for literally 30 seconds in order to drop some exposition and bounce. Don’t waste Doug Bradley, lest ye be wasted yourself Exorcismus. You’ve been warned.
The thing I found myself laughing at the most was when the Mom and Dad decide that shit has gotten too ill to handle, they send Emma’s younger brother to their Aunt’s house to stay until all the demonic shenanigans pass. They do it fairly quickly so I was pretty excited to see horror movie parents acting rationally and smartly, but in the next scene you find out that the Aunt lives NEXT DOOR TO THEM. They sent their son away (fearing for his safety) a whopping 30 feet across the yard. Do you think this comes around to bite them on the ass? If you answered yes then you have seen a horror movie before and I congratulate you. If you answered no then I recommend starting with The Exorcist and working your way down from there.
Exorcismus (named that because it’s original title, The Possession of Emma Evans, was just a little too shitty) is a strange little hybrid of a movie, production wise, as the filmmakers are from Spain, the setting is in England and the actors are British, Spanish and Irish. It’s like a smorgasbord of culture without any cultural touchstones at the forefront. Most of the actors have British accents but there’s really nothing inherently British about the film at all. The film could have had a more worldly feel to it if the scope had been expanded on just a bit but it all comes off as so claustrophobic and small that any lingering memories of the film begin to fade fairly quickly after the credits begin.
There you have it. It’s okay, nothing more and nothing less. If it had a few more scares and the “twist” ending wasn’t telegraphed in the first 15 minutes I could see this becoming a minor sleeper hit, but there’s not and it is so you’re left with a slightly below average addition to the exorcism genre that won’t catch too much attention before being relegated to Best Buy dollar bins. I feel bad spending so much time talking shit because it’s very obvious that everyone is trying hard to make a decent horror flick, but they’e ultimately let down by the pedestrian script and lack of any innovation. Watch Session 9 or The Last Exorcism instead.
It’s got a crisp and clean transfer and some pretty wicked surround sound going for it. The special features include a trailer that sells exactly the movie they made and a behind the scenes look at the making of the film which goes to prove that everyone involved is talented but this just wasn’t their breakthrough project. You’ll get ‘em next time, guys.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars