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The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

  Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Written by: Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson
Starring: Jennifer Carpenter, Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson
Links: The Exorcism of Emily Rose on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on DVD
Genre: Based on True Story

This movie gets: 5.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Exorcise extreme caution" - a review by andy-j

Some time back in nineteen-seventy-ahermmmmm, a young lady by the name of Emily Rose (not her real name) died after a failed attempt at exorcising the six demons that had possessed her. The exorcism was carried out by local priest Father Moore (probably not his real name either), who ended up facing charges in court for his part in her death. Much of this movie focuses on the courtroom trial, with flashbacks to the exorcism to help illustrate what is alleged to have happened.

My big problem with this film is that it was based on a true story, and, in my experience, these kind of "based on a true story" movies are not really worth watching (so why did I watch this? hmmm...). Take, for example, the film The Amityville Horror (2005). This is a movie that is based on a story that was completely unverified, and eventually proved completely false. Hollywood has a tendency to conveniently gloss over pieces of the puzzle that don't fit, and, likewise, add silly little extra bits to try to beef the whole thing up. The movie changes things around so much that it doesn't bear any resemblance to the true events it is based on, but at the same time it is passed off as if this is actually how it happened.

After watching this movie, it is easy to figure out what did and what didn't actually happen. The defense lawyer, for example, was not threatened by demons at any time in the court case. Her clock didn't really keep stopping at 3am, people! She didn't find a locket in the street with her initials in it. The defense's medical witness, if he actually existed, did not see something demonic that caused him to step backwards into the path of a car and conveniently die just before taking the witness stand. And the exorcism certainly did not take place in a barn on a stormy night with animals running amuck. How do I know this? Because these aspects of the film have absolutely no bearing on the end result. I'm positive they were added in an attempt to increase the running time, add some drama, and generally spice the whole thing up. Instead, they end up diluting the story, taking the focus off what matters, and drawing attention to the fact that this is just made up. In fact, many of these extras feel completely unexplored and unfinished.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose does have its moments though. There is a very effective sense of dread that is built up during flashbacks to the early days of Emily's possession. Some of the visions that she has are absolutely terrifying. The courtroom scenes occasionally shine. There's nothing like someone being completely discredited by a clever lawyer. It is well acted, especially by Tom Wilkinson as Father Moore, and young Jennifer Carpenter as Emily Rose.

Still, there is no escaping the fact that this story could have been told far more effectively on an episode of True Crime Stories (I just made that up!) or some other crime series show. It's more suited to that sort of format. I mean, we are essentially investigating a crime, and we only need to see the facts, without having some ridiculous spin being put on the whole thing. Certainly, a decent documentary with a good tight narration of these events would have a lot more credability, and would pack a much meaner punch as a result.

This is a totally unnecessary and, ultimately, boring movie. Not a patch on The Exorcist (1973), which was not based on a true story.

andy-j gives this movie 5 out of 10.
Review created on Sat 17 Dec 2005

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Reader comments

  1. Andy-j's review is positive proof of why people shouldn't take reviews from "just anybody" on the internet too seriously.

    First, this film IS "loosely" based on a true story (yes) about a real girl (yes) who did go through a "similar" experience (yes)...

    The WAS indeed multiple exorcism attempts (yes), by a credited catholic priest (yes), that was later condemned and charged by the legal system (with the parents as well in the actual story for negligence leading to death). Instead of being a "know it all" Andy (who by the way proves in his review that he knows "very little") you might want to take some of that energy used to write that terrible review and actually do some research...

    I can tell by the way you "briefly mention" the exorcism that you have not heard the actual taped recordings that this movie was based on (you should try that for starters)... In truth, I think this movie scared you badly enough that you simply weren't interested in looking at any more than the surface... because, if it WERE true I don't think you could have handled it...

    I can tell you have never actually attended or participated in an actual exorcism the way you talk about this as being a "trivial" thing that could be easily slotted into an "Episode of True Crime"...

    You should remove you review entirely as you have no personal experience (or desire to research this film) to get a closer look at what it is really about or what it involves.

    Ironically, you are correct in that the names have been changed (likely so that the family involved doesn't get "fan mail" from people like you).

    Equally ironic is that, that girl died to beat back some of the ignorance that people like you bring to the spiritual world... and surrounding rites like that of exorcism...

    Why don't you actually do some research, acquire those taped records and get the facts straight before you make form such uneducated, unformed opinions whose only purpose could be to make yourself "seem" smarter when you talk about something you obviously don't adequately understand.

    Rating given: 9

    A comment from Matt Allan on Wed 07 Feb 2007 00:20 #

  2. Thanks Matt. I found your non-conventional use of quotation marks quite refreshing. Certainly more enjoyable than the movie in question.

    A comment from Andy-J on Tue 08 Jun 2010 17:42 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 9.00 (1 rating)

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