Exorcismus Movie Review
Directed by Manuel Carballo
Written by David Muñoz
2010, Region 2 (PAL), 96 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 14th February 2010
Sophie Vavasseur as Emma
Doug Bradley as Father Ennis
Stephen Billington as Christopher
Tommy Bastow as Alex
Richard Felix as John
Brendan Price as Brian
Jo-Anne Stockham as Lucy
As a child I was always scared of Ouija boards. The idea that this simple ensemble of letters written on paper, and a glass tumbler, could so easily be used to invite all kinds of evil demons and poltergeists, was terrifying. You see, I had very little self-control and was a bit of a pushover; I thought that if I was presented with such a device I would just go along with it, summoning all sorts and ending up terrorized or dead or worse. In Exorcismus it seems this very nightmare I had as a kid is happening to teenage girl Emma.
From the outset Emma is what I would call a typical troubled teen of middleclass liberal parents. She wants for nothing, but when they do try to pull rank and exercise some discipline she rebels and experiments with taking drugs, and worse still, kissing boys. Eww. Emma and her little brother are home-schooled by their father, and both parents soon become concerned by their daughter’s increased bad behaviour of sulking and back chat. When an argument seems to prompt Emma to fall to the floor convulsing, she is sent to hospital for tests. These tests include a psychological evaluation which, to say it didn’t end well would be an understatement. Poor psychologist.
Emma is convinced that she has been possessed and begs for an exorcism to be performed by her uncle Christopher (Doug Bradley), who happens to be a priest. Sceptical at first, they finally decide they may be able to use this as a sort of placebo for their crazy daughter and go along with it. Father Christopher straps her to a chair and begins a series of short exorcisms over a period of days, leading to
hilarious disastrous events.
Although very professionally finished, it does feel at times like an episode of a British soap opera with the mundane dialogue and miserable faces. Even when she confesses to her mother that her and her friends had tampered with a Ouija board, she gets the bewildered reply “What did you want to go and do that for?” Ha, yeah, you stupid girl. A gripe I have with this is that at times it feels forced, which may have been down to moments when the acting occasionally fails to convince. Or maybe I have this all wrong and perhaps these are subtle reference points to the fact this is supposed to be a ‘normal’ girl in a ‘normal’ family. Although we are treated to a nice bit of opera interspersed with the violence which does make it feel rather, dare I say, highbrow, at times.
It isn’t all bad. There are moments of brilliance as undetectable forces kill off those she loves. And, in a scene where a little boy reaches into a busy road for his football, you can almost see invisible hands pushing it on. There are also some very nicely done spooky white eye rolls during the exorcisms and I always enjoy a good demon voice coming from a small girl. Also, the fact that Emma is still walking around as normal and not constantly strapped to a bed like in most demonic possession movies makes it feel new, providing for amusing exchanges at the breakfast table. This brought a whole new meaning to the term ‘not a morning person.’
Yes, it is very formulaic of the Exorcist variety, ticking all the boxes of a young girl suffering painful and pointless tests to find out what is wrong with her, with a few tragic deaths thrown in, only to apparently be set free in to a world that could never really be the same again. I just liked the fact that the protagonist we are supposed to feel sorry for had actually evoked the devil out of spite. If we’re honest about it, that is something we are all capable of doing, Ouija board or no Ouija board.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Not graded as this was a screener copy.