Asmodexia Movie Review
Written by Charlotte Stear
DVD released by Sharp Teeth Films
Directed by Marc Carreté
Written by Marc Carreté and Mike Hostench
2014, 81 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 28th March 2016
Albert Baró as Jan
Marta Belmonte as Inspectora Diana
Pepo Blasco as Jazz
Roser Bundó as Enfermera
Ramon Canals as Dr. Wilson
Marina Durán as Luna
It’s hard not to have preconceptions going into a exorcism movie, any recent offerings to this subgenre have been mediocre at best, so as I placed the DVD in the player it definitely felt like I was accepting a challenge, “Come on Asmodexia, bring it on!”
Asmodexia tells the story of exorcist Eloy (Lluis Marco) and his granddaughter Alba (Claudia Pons) travelling the Spanish countryside performing exorcisms, which we are told is leading up to “The Resurrection”. As we see the pair travel to perform their exorcisms we are also shown a woman in a mental institution working against what they’re doing, who those around her believe to be a witch. There are hints here and there about the duo’s past and Alba’s entrance into the world, but nothing is fully explained, and it all builds up to quite the climactic ending.
Asmodexia isn’t like the previous exorcism films it will inevitably be compared to, it does things a little differently. For one, this is a movie on the move which means the cinematography has an opportunity to become part of the story. This beautiful backdrop of the duo’s movements gives their journey more of an impact, their desolate, sparse surroundings reflect the couple’s tired but important mission. Working against this though is the bizarre choice of music that’s been pinned to these emotional scenes, sounding more like the soundtrack to a poorly made soap opera than a movie about demons and religion. It’s a missed opportunity to really add to the emotion of the story and the impending doom of their mission.
It’s also very interesting that this film doesn’t focus on one exorcism, the couple are on a mission so there are a few stops on their demon-freeing list, they aren’t confined to just four walls like a lot of exorcism movies. The rituals aren’t long processes, but each one is carried out in an intriguing way, a lot is unseen to begin with but it builds up so that when things really get going, you’re ready for it and it doesn’t disappoint. One scene with a possessed patient in the institution is incredibly creepy; as the patient is being bathed by the nurses, the viewer can see the possession but the staff can’t, the makeup and effects are very impressive and the result is a very chilling atmosphere.
Asmodexia doesn’t completely make sense but then it doesn’t really need to. It has strong performances (Lluis Marco especially stands out with his passionate performance), the scares are really well done, and it has the biggest pay-off to a small budget movie that I’ve seen in a long time. It’s nice to be slightly surprised in the way that the film pans out and it makes what could have been a paint-by-numbers exorcism movie a little bit different. It’s not going to reinvent the genre, but it’s done well to produce something fresh and different out of something that’s been tired for far too long.