Finally, a horror movie that’s not overloaded with gore. Though truly frightening, “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” provokes viewers into scaring themselves.
This low budget film, directed by Scott Derrickson, is surprisingly light on special effects. But as movie goers contemplate the existence of evil, they may find themselves sleeping with the lights on.
The film is loosely based on the true story of a modern day exorcism.
In 1976, Anneliese Michel, a 20-year-old woman, died during an official exorcism performed by the Catholic Church. Her parents and two priests were tried for her murder.
Michel ate spiders, urinated on the floor and drank her own urine. It was alleged by her priests and parent that she had supernatural strength and the ability to speak in languages that she had no training in.
The movie focuses on the trial of a Catholic priest, played by Tom Wilkinson, who is tried for negligent homicide following the death of Emily Rose. The prosecution provides scientific rational for the insane like behaviors of Emily Rose, played by Jennifer Carpenter.
The prosecution claims that Emily Rose suffered from “psychotic epileptic disorder.” The defense claims that she was possessed by demons and that the drugs given to her, for the non-existent disorder, led to the 19-year-olds death.
Carpenter provides a compelling portrayal of the demonically possessed, college student. She contorts her face and body as she speaks in tongues and sees demons in the faces of strangers.
Though Father Moore is offered a reduced sentence of reckless endangerment, he opts to go through the trail in order to tell the young girl’s story. By showing that demons exist, the priest expects to convert non-believers into believers.
Linney delivers a wonderful and affective portrayal of Moore’s attorney, Erin Bruner, a career-motivated, agnostic. Bruner takes the case in order to secure a partnership at her law firm.
For Bruner the trial is a life changing event. She begins to question her beliefs as she experiences a variety of supernatural events.
The trial displays society’s conflicts between faith and science. Either the priest is telling the truth and Emily Rose died after being possessed by demons, or she was a mentally ill young woman who died as a result of an unwarranted exorcism and the lack of medical care.
“The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” though not the typical horror film, does deliver a fair amount of fright.