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Overall Rating
3.59

Awesome: 23.47%
Worth A Look36.73%
Average: 18.37%
Pretty Bad: 18.37%
Total Crap: 3.06%

8 reviews, 50 user ratings



Exorcism of Emily Rose, The
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by brianorndorf

"So where's the horror again?"
2 stars

While the ads scream bloody murder, “Exorcism of Emily Rose” is more of a mild courtroom thriller, boasting a fine cast that should know better. Occasionally, the film gives itself over to the spooky side, and the results are predictable (especially for “Exorcist” fans) and amateurish. If this is actually based on a true story as the film fiercely maintains, than I feel sorry for the demons that picked such a boring person to possess.

Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter, “White Chicks”) is a young, naive girl, eagerly heading off to college. Upon arrival, Emily is seemingly attacked by demonic forces, which leave her on the brink of sanity. After her mysterious death from a botched exorcism, Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson) is put on trail for her demise, leaving exasperated defender Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) at a loss as to how to approach the case. As Erin probes deeper into Emily’s alleged supernatural behavior, she begins to feel evil forces are following her, and puts her job and reputation at stake as she moves forward with her controversial defense that Emily was not mentally ill, but possessed by a demon.

The marketing of “Emily Rose” shows frightening images of a young girl violently possessed, a sweaty priest battling thunderous malevolent forces, and an inquisitive woman persistently trying to find out who Emily Rose was and what happened to her. Unfortunately, this is not the film you get with “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.” A poorly constructed, dry-as-toast courtroom tale of suspected possession, “Rose” is sadly more “Exorcist II” than “Exorcist.”

It’s a little unfair to compare the B-grade hysterics of “Rose” with the 1973 horror classic but, with the opening moments of “Rose” detailing an innocent young female slowly taken over by evil, the picture is begging for it. Where “Exorcist” had a sturdy, almost epic narrative spine of good vs. evil, “Rose” lounges around this idea of conflict, casually cherry-picking ideas when it is badly in need of story or scares. Director Scott Derrickson (the straight-to-video “Hellraiser: Inferno”) isn’t nearly as crafty a filmmaker as this story requires, and his constipated, clichéd vision for Emily’s hell and remembrance results in a motion picture that alternates between infuriating and deathly boring.

First and foremost of the problems that plague “Rose” is that the audience never really understands the title character. Emily Rose is presented as a small town boob, eager to expand her horizons at college…and that’s it. From then on out, it’s a collage of demonic voices, random bug eating, and flopping around for the rest of the movie. Other characters discuss the sunnier Emily between her possessions, but we never see that. How come? Because those moments wouldn’t give Derrickson much to do. Already saddled with a courtroom plot, witnessing Emily as a human being would only lend critical compassion to the picture, along with some clarity to the cloudy brain disorder vs. actual possession subplot the film occasionally pays attention to. Apparently, that type of complexity is not what Derrickson wants for his film.

Though based on a true story, “Emily Rose” opts for fantasy at all opportunities. Derrickson is making a weird hybrid between “The Practice” and “X-Files,” and the two genres never quite tie together. Noticing this, Derrickson tries to nudge the fantastical moments of the picture over the dramatic ones, assisted by one of the loudest and obnoxious sound designs I’ve heard in recent memory. Seriously, bring earplugs. The director also tries to jolt the audience whenever he can, even if the overall film isn’t truly horror. Using slamming doors, an overanxious score by Christopher Young, ominous alarm clocks, crazed cats, and the most ludicrous car accident seen on screen this year, Derrickson is shameless in trying to cheaply spook people. The production even tries to shoehorn in a baffling suspense subplot for Erin by having her lukewarmly terrorized by unseen demons, adding more elements of horror to please those baffled by all the courtroom material after buying a ticket to what they thought was an exercise in terror.

Also distressing is the level of talent wasted in “Rose.” Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, and Campbell Scott (as the D.A.) are all fiercely talented performers, and they give “Rose” a good deal of competency simply by committing to the story. The feeling that permeates the film is that they were suckered into the production by the promise of the “true story” angle, and then hung out to dry once Derrickson was left alone with the grade school possession sequences (they look like Ozzy Osbourne music videos). And poor Jennifer Carpenter; left playing a shell of a person, the actress gives the film her all with various incarnations of screaming and tossing herself across rooms. It’s an extremely physical part that Carpenter captures well, but her role lacks a much-needed life outside of the possession.

The epilogue of the film reminds the viewer of the factual basis for the “Exorcism of Emily Rose,” but I don’t buy it.

By this point Derrickson has sent the film through such an obstacle course of mediocrity, that it ends up annihilating whatever awe and reality this tale once held.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=13052&reviewer=404
originally posted: 09/11/05 13:33:08
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User Comments

3/31/17 IP It's decent 4 stars
10/30/16 morris campbell chilling the exorcist meets Law&order 4 stars
9/19/16 Alison Taylor Thought it was great! Don't get the neg reviews. I'm a screenwriter who studies filmmaking. 5 stars
12/29/13 Monday Morning Loathed it. 2 stars
8/18/13 PAUL SHORTT EFFECTIVELY SCARY, ENTERTAINING TRUE-STORY, WITH GOOD PERFORMANCES 3 stars
3/19/12 Kelly Green Shows that they DO still make good horror flims! 5 stars
11/25/08 CTT Courtroom/horror hybrid does neither well enough 3 stars
10/16/08 Jon Rather frightening that something similar to this really happened. Really tests beliefs. 5 stars
4/27/08 Jack Sommersby Pretty adequate stuff that managed to truly frighten me in places. 3 stars
3/10/08 Jayme Isaacs Good Movie 5 stars
11/28/07 mb I left it after 36 min 2 stars
11/20/07 R.W.Welch Reasonably spooky and mostly interesting fictionalization of German possession case. C+ 3 stars
9/21/07 Airra The actress who played as Emily Rose should've been nominated for the Academy Awards. 5 stars
9/17/07 William Goss Carpenter is good, but not good enough in courtroom drama laced w/ fright-based flashbacks. 4 stars
7/11/07 Hello Stranger lagged and dragged moslty. but this is challenging to beliefs.great acting by Carpenter 4 stars
5/01/07 Indian dude What the hell was this? The whole movie was about a damn court case. 1 stars
2/17/07 Vip Ebriega One of the most religous thrillers since 'The Exorcist' and 'The Omen'. 3 stars
1/22/07 David A. It combines horror and courtroom drama, making you question your own beliefs. 4 stars
10/22/06 veronique i don't scare easily but this movie almost made me cry. EXCELLENT!!!! 5 stars
7/24/06 JenDenmark A scary movie that is actually scary!! Great casting as well! 5 stars
6/30/06 MP Bartley A mixture of genres that really shouldn't work...but does to great effect. 4 stars
6/02/06 LC I fell asleep towards the end. 2 stars
4/03/06 Keely TOTALLY AWESOME acting, storyline, sound effects-not just another dumb horror. LOVED IT!!! 5 stars
3/08/06 richard citra good film 4 stars
2/21/06 Indrid Cold The freak-out sequence a la Jacob's Ladder is cool, but otherwise just OK. 3 stars
1/17/06 gabi it was ok 4 stars
12/10/05 ahmed kamal awadallah i really felt it 5 stars
11/30/05 Gogo movie was great for me coz i was interested in law and of Emily Rose story, ppl disagreed 5 stars
11/28/05 Aisha pretty creepy film worth watching 4 stars
11/09/05 Alice Very good acting! One of the better excorsism movies. 4 stars
11/01/05 john bale Using a Court Room as basis for flashbacks this is a frightening essay, well scripted acted 5 stars
11/01/05 M Excorsist' had pea-soup vomit and spinning heads, 'Emily Rose' is a true story! scared?? 5 stars
11/01/05 Damien That Damn Movie was Great 5 stars
10/25/05 DEEDeeDEEe All I can Say is,If You dont wear Dipers now would be a good time, BASED ON TRUE SHIT! WTF 4 stars
10/24/05 Shamus "Would you like some horror with your horror movie, sir?" 2 stars
10/24/05 GiR I almost peed my pants. what great acting, 'cuz it freaked the hell outta me. 4 stars
10/24/05 M. Mediocre would be high praise. One of the most boring movies I have ever seen. 1 stars
10/07/05 Louise McChrystal It was good, scary in a good way, good actors 4 stars
10/07/05 Carolyn Rathburn Eerie, just plain eerie 4 stars
10/03/05 Breanna OMG IT WAS TOTALLY AWESOME ITS WORT EVEY PENNY,ITLL TOTALLY CHANGE YOUR OF VIEW!!!! 5 stars
9/30/05 Brad K. Wait for it to come out on video. Waste of $10. 2 stars
9/29/05 Angela J A great movie for thinkers! 4 stars
9/26/05 brittney very deep.. people who are religous.. very deep for them 5 stars
9/22/05 maktabozzahra very 1 stars
9/17/05 keith mccormick xcellent challenge viewers to question what is personal reality 5 stars
9/15/05 jcjs nice 4 stars
9/13/05 Robert In a strange way it is better than what I had expected. Certainly worth the viewing. 4 stars
9/13/05 David McDaniel boring and long 2 stars
9/12/05 Raul Trevino This movie scared the hell out of me! Driving home 45 miles in the dark was another story. 5 stars
9/10/05 bobbi Very good story. It told the facts as people saw them from differing points of view. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  09-Sep-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Dec-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  27-Oct-2005




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