Exorcism Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by 101 Films
Written and Directed by Lance Patrick
2014, 18 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 12th January 2015
Alex Rendall as Rob
Aisling Knight as Ash
Rick Alancroft as Phil
Sarah Akehurst as Jo
I watched the whole thing and I honestly couldn't tell you whether it was supposed to be funny or if it's just really, comically terrible. This is a film which opens with a character announcing his intention to make a quasi-sequel to The Exorcist, said with a straight face. The rest of the film is filled to the hilt with people saying equally ridiculous things, with not a hint as to whether we're supposed to be taking it seriously or not. The point is moot anyway, since none of it is remotely amusing either way.
The story sees a gang of filmmakers head off to a grand old British house in the county, set to film their 'as good as The Exorcist' exorcism movie. Complicating matters is the fact that the old house was once subject to real life demonic possession and the dabbling in dark arts by one of the crew's number. No sooner have they started filming than things begin to go terribly wrong – a girl stabs herself to death with a pair of scissors, one of the technicians keels over dead (no-one seems sure why) and the lead actress comes over all black pupils and speaking in tongues. Filmed found footage style with handy onscreen text summarising the bits you may have missed (“they struggled for ten minutes to keep the door shut”) it flies by surprisingly fast, running through its various clichés in a matter of minutes. Our filmmakers end up only exacerbating the problem by attempting to conduct their own exorcism – their actor playing a priest shouting random biblical passages at the girl/demon until it appears to go away.
In spite of its very obvious flaws, there's an admirable sense of energy to Exorcism, which plays more like a really (really) low-budget version of The Evil Dead than the obvious likes of Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project. Its leading female character is even called Ash, suggesting a sense of playfulness I may not have given it proper credit for. It's lean, mean and silly – not letting the lack of funds get in the way of real action or jump scares. It could so easily have been yet another found footage bore, saving its shocks until the last five minutes, but it avoids such cheap tricks, making the most of its scant running time. That it doesn't outstay its welcome makes Exorcism a hard film to truly dislike. It's badly acted, written and produced, but it gives its all so admirably that I couldn't help but ultimately respect it, warts and all.
That said, famous Exorcist lover Mark Kermode can breathe easy tonight. Exorcism won't be troubling William Friedkin for his crown anytime soon.