Kelly's October Pick
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
When it comes to films focused on demonic possession, the narratives normally consist of a building up of symptoms that are usually confused for mental illness and ends with a horrific, nightmare-inducing exorcism. But, then, along comes a film by Scott Derrickson (Sinister, Deliver Us from Evil) that changes everything, The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is part possession horror, part courtroom drama and stars the incredible Laura Linney, Jennifer Carpenter, and Tom Wilkinson. Erin (Linney) is a beautiful, ambitious lawyer willing to take the controversial case of neglect by Father Moore (Wilkinson) on a young woman named Emily Rose (Carpenter). He, along with Emily’s family, considered her possessed by evil spirits but doctors and lawyers saw her as a sick woman requiring medical attention. What plays out is an emotional story of the supernatural, faith vs science, blending together to make one hell of a spooky tale.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is also based on the true story of Anneliese Michel. She was born on September 21, 1952, in Germany, and was a deeply devout woman who started hearing voices after experiencing episodes of violent seizures. Anneliese went through a series of medical procedures and medications, which sadly didn’t improve her condition. She was convinced that it was demons harming her, so she sought the help of priests. After multiple exorcisms, she became weaker and weaker until she inevitably died. The priests involved in her case went to trial in 1978, and they received light sentences for negligent homicide. To learn more about her story, go to Demons Within: The Life, Death and Exorcism of Anneliese Michel. You can also listen to her exorcism online if you want to. I, however, politely decline.
I really love the possession horror subgenre. It, along with aliens and alien abduction, is what scares me the most. If possession is real, then so are ghosts, demons, angels and perhaps even God. That would truly shake up my nontheistic belief system! Some possession horrors are incredibly well done and even infamous like The Exorcist, and some are cliche and not scary (to me) like Exorcismus. As I mentioned before, they are often quite formulaic and sometimes missing that human element, losing it for the scare factor. The Exorcism of Emily Rose doesn’t fall into this category, which is why it stands out to me. When I saw it for the first time, the scene in the barn with Emily proclaiming all the demons that possess her made my blood run ice cold. I will also never look at 3 AM the same again.
I think that The Exorcism of Emily Rose deserves much more love than it is given for its wonderful acting, deeply moving story, inspiring ending, and for being hella scary! If you haven’t seen it, then please do so for the month of October for it is the perfect time of the year to visit what keeps you awake at night with the lights on….