Exorcism Of Emily Rose

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Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter, Colm Feore, JR Bourne
Director: Scott Derrickson

A strange thing happened a few years ago when the 25th anniversary edition of THE EXORCIST hit the cinema. A movie that, for the best part of two decades plus, had only been available on pirate VHS had now, in all of its glorious re-mastered version, failed to scare an audience that had grown up watching Freddy Kruger in the 80’s and SCREAM in the 90’s. In fact, people were actually laughing at the scary parts of the movie. As a horror fan, I was both fascinated and appalled by the reaction THE EXORCIST got. 2005 and we now have a new exorcist type movie and knowing what a rough time the recent EXORCIST prequels went through, I could only hope that THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE would hopefully be, at the very least, a decent enough movie. I’m glad I was not disappointed.

Based on a true story, the movie begins with the local police calling on the Rose farm and discovering the dead body of Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter). It turns out that the local priest Father Richard Moore (Tom Wilkinson) had performed an exorcism on Emily, but did he contribute to her death? With no one else to blame, Fr. Moore is arrested and finds that he is on his own when his own church fails to back him up. Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) is the assigned defence lawyer who is far from ready to defend Fr. Moore.

Erin takes up the job in defending Fr Moore, believing that she will become a partner at her law firm. Along the way Erin is faced with a few problems, the most obvious is Fr. Moore’s refusal to take the stand. Left with a prosecuting team that will rip Fr. Moore to shreds, Erin realises that she will have to approach the case from a different angle. When this course of action does not work out for Erin, she somehow has to convince Fr. Moore to reluctantly take the stand. What did Fr. Moore see and experience that is stopping him from telling his side of the story?

The clever concept of making THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE into part horror story, part courtroom drama might not sound like an exciting prospect but it is. For those who have grown up watching THE X FILES, this concept will seem familiar where explanations are sometimes found for the bizarre. Even after watching this movie, you will walk away questioning whether Emily Rose died of natural causes or died from demonic possession. Becoming engrossed by the rational explanations given in the courtroom, when the horror aspect of the movie creeps in, it manages to make you feel uncomfortable thanks to Jennifer Carpenter’s disturbing performance. In fact, several people did walk out of the cinema during the movie, which is something I have not seen in a long time.

5 out of 6 stars