It’s in our nature to dismiss things that seem illogical at first as something with a rational explanation behind it. The Exorcism Of Emily Rose explores that idea with science and religion on trial. The setting is a modern-day courtroom filled with skeptics. Even the defense attorney (Laura Linney) has her doubts when she is appointed to defend a priest who performed a fatal exorcism on an allegedly possessed young woman. Before we start I would like to say that I saw Sinister last night and it is reflected heavily (but not influencing the outcome) in this review.
I remember passing this movie up when it came out because the trailer made it look stupid. I have a tendency to do that and I am very remorseful when I end up seeing the movie on DVD later and it kicks ass. I did it with Insidious and almost with Sinister and they both turned out to be great!
Anyway, without getting into too much detail, I would like to point out that for feeling like an episode like Law & Order at times this movie had some terrifying scenes. Jennifer Carpenter did a great job being a demon in a girls body and she truly scared me to the bone. I only wish that there was more of it. The courtroom scenes were equally suspenseful with Linney going back and forth with the opposition (Campbell Scott) who was good at portraying a dick. He seemed to get away with an awful lot of pestering and degrading directed at Linney’s witnesses. The only downside is that this movie felt more like a drama than a horror film. The aura is comparable to that of The Hannibal movies.
During the movie, the accused priest explains to his lawyer that 3am is the Devil’s hour because 3pm is what is thought to be the hour when Christ died on the cross. It made me think about all of the horror movies where the characters get up in the middle of the night and the clock reads 3 something, particularly The Amityville Horror. Usually some crazy shit is happening in their house after 3am. As a matter of fact, it happens in Sinister too. Basically, what I am trying to say is now I’m not going downstairs for a late night snack between 3 and 4. Keep your eyes open for 3am on the clock in future films!
Another film came along a few years after Emily Rose that explored the same premise: Is she possessed or crazy? The Last Exorcism featured a different, found-footage approach. I think I watched that during last year’s Marathon. The Last Exorcism was great all the way up until the final 5 minute shitstorm. Despite being made 5 years beforehand, Emily Rose pulled it off much better and will reign as one of the best modern-day exorcism movies as far as I’m concerned (get that The Possession shit outta here). Of course nothing tops the original The Exorcist. I’m surprised no other exorcism movie I’ve seen has copied the head-spinning or spider-walking.
For impressing me after I doubted it, I give The Exorcism Of Emily Rose 4 weird-looking trees out of 5!