‘Exorcism’ will scare the Hell out of you

Steve Schirra

Jennifer Carpenter gets possessed as Emily Rose in The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

Credit: Steve Schirra


The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.

Where? Kent Plaza Theater

When? Opens Friday at 2:10 p.m.

How much? $7

Stater rating (out of four): ****

 It’s not often that you see a movie so disturbing, so horrifying that you are forced to say to the person next to you, “I’m going to stab you in the leg if you don’t stop whimpering.”

But such was the case with The Exorcism of Emily Rose, a movie written and directed by Scott Derrickson that will literally scare the Hell out of you.

At the press screening, I had to remind my friend, with whom I attended the film, that I would perform my own brand of exorcism on him if he didn’t stop acting like a little girl.

But it’s hard not to react as such when you’re subjected to the perfectly executed horror of Emily Rose. There were few people in the theater who weren’t squirming in their seats as the story unfolded.

The movie opens with a medical examiner entering the Rose household. It seems their oldest daughter, Emily, has passed away due to “unnatural causes,” prompting the on-the-scene officer to arrest Father Moore (Tom Wilkenson).

But why arrest the priest?

As the story continues, we learn that Emily’s care was completely laid to rest in the hands of Moore, her priest, who is now on trial for negligent homicide.

Enter his lawyer, Erin Bruner (Laura Linney), who has to somehow defend a man who seemingly allowed a disturbed girl to starve to death. His defense: The girl was possessed by demons who made her harm herself and lose her will to eat.

The district attorney, Ethan Thomas (Campbell Scott), argues that the girl was simply schizophrenic and epileptic, which was the cause of these “possessions,” and that the priest should have left her in the care of a doctor.

Mixed in-between the court scenes are flashbacks that show the progression of Emily’s “condition,” which begins when she is away at college. One night, she is unable to control her movements as her body thrashes and contorts as she feels a “presence.”

Medical science says these are just seizures caused by a medical condition, but Father Moore thought these episodes were something more — something evil.

Emily Rose is the perfect blend of courtroom drama and horror. Think “Law and Order” meets The Exorcist (sans the puking up green slime and head-spinning parts).

The sound effects, score, cinematography and excellent cast come together to make this a truly horrific masterpiece and perhaps one of the best horror films of all time. This is definitely one to see in the theaters.

As you walk out of the theater, unnerved, remember this one fact: It’s based on a true story.

Contact Forum Editor Steve Schirra at [email protected].

Anneliese Michel: The real Emily Rose

The hype from The Exorcism of Emily Rose has spurred a newfound interest in the mysterious tale of Anneliese Michel, a troubled girl whose story was the basis for movies like The Exorcist and Emily Rose.

Born in Germany in 1952, Anneliese lived a normal life with her religious family. When she turned 16, she began having attacks, which made her unable to control the movements of her body. Her family believed these were demonic attacks.

She was brought in for treatment at a psychiatric clinic and diagnosed with grand mal epilepsy and given medication. She continued having episodes where she would see demonic creatures, refuse to eat anything except spiders and coal and destroy religious icons.

After the church decided she met the conditions for the rite, exorcisms were conducted bi-weekly.

Her condition worsened again, and she began to speak in the voices of the demons who inhabited her body. She stopped eating and eventually died of starvation.

Both her parents and the priests involved were charged with negligent homicide and eventually convicted and sentenced to six months in prison and probation, though they had over 40 hours of tape documenting her exorcisms and erratic behavior.

Though the church later overturned its decision about Anneliese, saying she was mentally ill and not possessed, her grave site has become a place of pilgrimage for many who believe she died battling evil.

Source: horrorchannel.com