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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


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Exorcism of Emily Rose, The
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by Chris Wilson

"If The Exorcist were remade by obsessed Law & Order fansÖ"
3 stars

I donít imagine many people out there are salivating for a supernatural thriller turned courtroom drama but those few that have been waiting for such a thing should waste no time checking out The Exorcism of Emily Rose. While the title makes it sound like a cheap knockoff of another famous movie about exorcism or possibly a documentary on the subject, itís actually quite a different take from what I expected. And mostly in a good way.

The story is a very fictionalized version of a court case involving a young woman whose death coincides with an attempted exorcism. In the film, rising star attorney Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) is tapped to defend Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson), a priest accused of causing the death of Emily Rose. Through interviews and testimony the audience gets flashbacks to the events that led to Emilyís death.

The setup and execution may sound hokey but it works for the most part. The pacing is steady despite all the flashing back and forth, though by the last third of the movie the judicial dramatics take over. Though the film isnít a full blown fright fest, prior to the last act it definitely has some very creepy and atmospheric moments. While thereís no split pea soup puking, head spinning or cross abusing to be found, I found the lack of sensationalizing much more frightening. Itís by far the scariest courtroom film ever made (unless you count Pauley Shore in Jury Duty).

The fact that the supernatural horror plays out over a courtroom battle actually works in the filmís favor. While Bruner defends Father Moore and we see mostly his side of the story, the prosecution is constantly providing alternative ways of looking at things. For example, Emily may very well have had epilepsy. And the languages she is supposed to have spoken during her possession are all languages she had contact with. It was refreshing to receive a skeptical side to the story and have some holes poked in the plot. While it would hurt many films, a topic as controversial as exorcism demands a well-rounded approach.

Though the joining of two genres works in this aspect, neither part is especially compelling on its own. The legal side of the film isnít especially gripping (Father Moore, the only character with much at stake, refuses a generous plea deal) and there just arenít enough scares to satisfy hardcore horror buffs. Fans of either genre are sure to be disappointed. In this, the film commits the typical shortcoming of trying to do too much and doesnít fully succeed at anything.

Further hurting the film is its need to be frightening. The movie hints at unseen evil forces harassing Erin Bruner. While this is fine in the testimony flashbacks, as those are meant to be one personís interpretation, when done in the filmís present day it becomes a cheap way of trying to make the tension more immediate. Unfortunately, the actual character youíre meant to care about is dead when the story starts. While the film points out the alternative ways of looking at things, it becomes difficult to remain objective when the story so blatantly supports the supernatural side.

I wish I could give this film four stars. It far exceeded the expectations I had from both the title and the terrible ad campaign. But it really is only average. Neither side of the story is especially great, though together they do manage to explore exorcism in a unique and less biased way. Ultimately what the film lacks is something that transcends the material. The Exorcist, while shamelessly flawed in its portrayal of exorcism, told a personal tale of fighting inner demons and regaining faith. The Exorcism of Emily Rose is interesting and entertaining but definitely has some demons of its own holding it back.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=13052&reviewer=400
originally posted: 09/09/05 17:40:53
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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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