May 16, 2011

Exorcismus (2011), a rant.

Paraphrased from the Wiki: Exorcismus tells the tale of a secluded, home-schooled teenager named Emma, whose uncontrolled behavior causes her to believe she is possessed by the devil. When terrible things start to happen to her friends and family, her parents grudgingly call in the help of her uncle who is a priest to drive out the evil spirits. They also allow Uncle Priest to secretly video tape the sessions for the sake of posterity.  

Exorcismus tries to be creepy. It does. Unfortunately it falls way short in the chills department, although there are a few creep-worthy bits sprinkled throughout.

Worse than that, it manages to use every cliche in the exorcism handbook while not bringing much of anything new to the table; a susceptible young girl; a Ouija Board; some unexplained fits/episodes, even more baffled Therapists and Doctors; a shamed Priest reluctant to perform an exorcism; levitation; vomiting; white eyes accompanying a demonic voice; foul language; vulgar sexual references...

 It's all rehashed from creepy movies of the past, and not even to decent effect. I'll take a movie that's a rip-off now and then, but for the love of God at least make it a good rip-off.

In the typical exorcism film, there's a lot of growling, foul language, levitating, evil grins and laughter, creepy contorting, questioning of faith, verbal sparring... but not much else ever seems to happen. It's like Demons possess someone just to do it, for laughs. They don't take over a corporeal form and go on a killing spree or cause mass destruction, no, for the most part they banter with Priests, and act all evil and overbearingly aloof... it can all still be very effective, but when you really think about it, aside from the immediate danger to the one possessed, there's not much danger in the whole thing at all.

The problem is, even above how uninspiring and unoriginal the material in this movie was, that it's not creepy at all. the atmosphere is hardly tense or foreboding, as nothing of worth is really allowed to build to a palpable level. There are a few moments that show promise in the shit-your-pants department, but they never go anywhere. The creepiest part of the movie was the flashback of the Priest's first exorcism, and that was only for a few seconds.

Oh, and now that you mention it, there's really no exorcism in this movie. There's a lot of talking, but no EXORCISM. The Priest finally tries one, for like 10 seconds at the end, but nothing comes of that.

This is the part where I mention the twist, which I will not spoil; so yeah, there's a twist towards the end which was alright, but pointless. And furthermore, what the hell does Exorcismus even mean? Is it Spanish for "lame" or "suck?"

I will give the movie credit for two things that it did "out of the norm." First, it kinda threw some incest in there, which at least was different, and probably the creepiest thing in the movie. Second, at least a bunch of people died or came close to it, even as ridiculous as it was to watch most of that action unfold. I'll also give some credit to Sophie Vavasseur, the actress that played Emma. She was pretty good although some of the material she was given forced her to painfully overact.

There needs to be an exorcism movie with atmosphere, and an impending sense of dread. A movie that sticks with the convention, but steps out of the box as well, and actually does something with the story. There never seems to be anything in these flicks that make you feel like "If the Priest can't defeat this Demon, the world is in trouble." That's the kind of exorcism movie we need. Exorcismus is not that movie.

D ...and that's being pretty generous.

Sophie Vavasseur is in this.

7 comments :

  1. I've found most films fall more than short of the mark when it come to exorcism films.Obviously the Exorcist is a benchmark,but even that doesn't do it for everyone.I think the Exorcism of Emily Rose was the last decent one I saw,and that's a 2005 film.I may have missed some classics but I won't hold my breath.I think it's a film subject best left alone for a while.

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  2. I am a butt,I meant An American Haunting,I knew it didn't seem right when I wrote my original comment.

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  3. There are great posts on your blog. My friends referred your blog to me. Looks like everyone knows about it, just me, until now. Keep sharing. Take care.

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  4. Oh wow, this is disappointing news. I had hopes for this one.

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  5. Hey I'm just shamelessly using this comments space to get your attention to my review of a horror movie from the Indian Film Industry that has been so much raved about.

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  6. I watched this movie a few weeks ago and was disappointed. An American Haunting was a pretty good movie. I went out and bought that one and The Exorcisism of Emily Rose.

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  7. I'm watching it now ... it seems ok

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