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From the Past

Films on the to-do list

  • Armageddon Time
  • Black Widow
  • Chimes at Midnight
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer
  • Last Christmas
  • Remember Sunday
  • Shazam! 2
  • Thor: Love and Thunder
  • Spy Guys

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Film review: The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), directed by Scott Derrickson

Very loosely based on the exorcism of Anneliese Michel, The Exorcism of Emily Rose follows Erin Bruner (Laura Linney), a lawyer wanting to become a partner of the law firm she works for (where Colm Feore is the boss). A case comes along where a priest, Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson), is accused of causing the death of a young woman, Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter – Debra Morgan on Dexter).

The priest says she was possessed by demons – but was she really, or was she killed by being neglected by the priest and his cronies? Who knows whether or not there are such things as actual demons? Erin finds strange things starting to happen around her, but is she just letting the case affect her mentally, or could it be that the priest’s story is actually true?

Also starring Campbell Scott as prosecutor Ethan Thomas, Mary Beth Hurt as Judge Brewster, Henry Czerny as Dr Briggs, Shohreh Aghdashloo as Dr Adani and Duncan Fraser as Dr Cartwright.

As it happens, I’m intrigued by films with demons – one of the scariest films I’ve ever seen has a demon in it – but because I had read about Anneliese Michel before this film, I saw it from the context of her not being possessed at all. Which is not what the film makers have gone for. It’s hole hog demonic possession and a lot of screaming. And when it’s not that, it’s set in a courtroom.

Doesn’t really do it for me, to be honest, even if it must be oddly liberating for Carpenter to scream like a woman possessed. Ahhhh-har-har.

Can’t complain about the acting, or the ambiguity in if you believe she was possessed or not, because that’s interesting, but … I don’t know. Just expected it to be something different than half courtroom drama, half bug-eating woman screaming.

2.5 out of 5 sinking mattresses?


An easily distracted and over-excited introvert who never learns to go to bed at a reasonable time. Enjoys traveling (when there's not a plague on), and taking photos of European architecture. Cares for cats, good coffee and Boardwalk Empire. A child of her time, she did media studies in school and still can't decide what she wants to be when she grows up.

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