Tuesday, May 23, 2006

DVD Review - The Exorcism of Emily Rose

This weekend, I watched “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”. I have been thinking about it ever since.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this movie. While I’ve seen “The Exorcist” (1973) and wasn’t interested in seeing a ripoff, I wanted to see this for whatever reason. Maybe it was the quiet undercurrents about it – while it didn’t do much at the box office, I’d heard good reviews. Something told me this was different.

While billed as a horror film (and rightly so, though not wholly), “Emily Rose” was mostly a courtroom drama. A priest is on trial for the homicide of a young girl, supposedly possessed by demons. She had not responded to medical treatments of epilepsy nor various speculated psychoses, all of which were hypothesized as conditions by her doctors. Her devout Catholic family called upon their Priest for help, and Emily willingly placed her entire care in his hands. Upon her death, he is arrested and prosecuted by the state.

He is represented by an agnostic lawyer – who finds it difficult to believe in such matters but must hammer out a case based on supernatural angles. The prosecuting attorney is a Believer, but must prove the Priest negligent.

Throughout the course of the trial, Emily’s story is relayed through testimony and flashback cinematography. The more you learn about Emily’s final years, the more your mind contemplates “superstitious” possibilities.

To make it more interesting (to me, anyway – the fact nerd that I am) – Being that this movie is based on a true story, I did some research on “Emily Rose”, whose real name was Anneliese Michel, and found that the movie was fairly accurately representational to the true story, barring minor details.

I found this movie to be very interesting from its courtroom perspective, with just enough horror and creepiness to keep you alert without going over the top. A compelling look at when the defining borders of the natural, unnatural and supernatural blend and become indistinct. If you love movies that make you think rhetorically, check it out. You’ll be left wondering how many cases of “possession” can be attributed to mental illness … and/or how many cases of mental illness may indeed be the presence of dark outside forces.

When neither can be proven as hard fact, who is to say?

13 comments:

joy said...

I'm not into horror movies, but I've heard from others who've seen this movie, its intensity and horrific nature.

"You’ll be left wondering how many cases of “possession” can be attributed to mental illness … and/or how many cases of mental illness may indeed be the presence of dark outside forces."

Working in the social work "arena", I do often wonder whether or not mental illnesses may have a spiritual element to them; especially the more severe cases. For me, it's a grey area because I do believe that some, if not most, mental health illnesses are due to chemical imbalances in the brain. But then again, I am reminded of Eph. 6:12 where Paul states that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

chesneygirl said...

I hadn't heard much about this movie and I'm not much for "horror" movies...but you made it sound very interesting - I just may have to rent it sometime soon....seeing as, after Thursday, I'm going to be "bored stiff" :)

I find Joy's comment very interesting and thought provoking too.

Unacknowledged Genius said...

From seeing the trailers for this movie I assumed it was a horror story, which I am not partial to watching. Your review makes me want to see it now.

Bougie Black Boy said...

Great write-up. I heard nothing but bad reviews of it. BECAUSE it was the court room trial, and I don't think it was marketed as such. Such is life--your review was very well done. You're a great writer

naive-no-more said...

I didn't want to see it either because I thought it was strictly horror. I may watch it now even though it will probably scare the liver out of me.

Lisa M. said...

I haven't seen it, but wonder...

Are you a believer or a non believer

Nelly said...

I've wanted to see this movie and think I will now! Thanks Clew!

clew said...

Yep, Lisa, I'm a believer! I'm also intrigued by a great many things. Sometimes I think too much! ;)

Itchy said...

I really liked this movie. I went and saw it at the theatre...due to it being marketed as "horror." But it's not... I really, really liked it. I thought it was really well done and I liked how they didn't really answer the questions for you...it gave you information and lets you decide for yourself.

It's Just Me said...

Oh wow! This is defitely going on my Netflix list. The Exorcist scarred me for life I think (love scary/spooky movies as long as they are not too too gory), but I am absolutely fascinted by this topic.

Did you see Constantine? The main character was an exorcist. It got awful reviews, and Keanu was his typical wooden self, but I really enjoyed it.

It's Just Me said...

Yikes. So many typos in that reply. Sorry. Too much coffee today I think.

Rebecca said...

I'm dying to see this movie - so I didn't read this post!!! ;)

Anna said...

I've wanted to see this movie, but I am so sensitive and squimish I havn't yet!!