Exorcismus DVD review
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The Devil's abroad, again...
In recent years, and especially since the release of 2007’s The Orphanage, Spanish horror has started to challenge its Japanese rival. The production company behind [Rec] and [Rec] 2, bring us a UK-set imaginative take on the age-old exorcism movie...
Fifteen year-old Emma is a normal moody teenager, drinking, making-out with boys, baby-sitting her younger brother and ranting and raving when she doesn’t get her way. Educated at home but keen to attend the local school, she hangs around with older neighbours who share her rock-chick ways, trying to tempt her with concerts. Frustrated by her parents’ rules, Emma starts to self-harm but what at first appears to be an innocent cry for help soon turns into something more sinister.
An inexplicable fit leads to Emma hearing muffled sounds, getting rashes and having vomiting fits. It’s only after her psychologist dies during a hypnosis session and she starts to levitate, that her atheist parents are willing to admit perhaps the infliction isn’t just psychological. When her behaviour becomes more self-destructive, she starts hallucinating and becomes a threat to those around, Emma turns to her Catholic Uncle, Christopher, for help - a priest suspended after an exorcism went badly wrong and a young girl died.
Set in London suburbs with black and white flashbacks to the previous exorcism attempt, Exorcismus is a new and interesting take on possession, almost presenting it in a light of 'conscious schizophrenia'. The family connection between the priest and the possessed allows for understandable explanations for every step of the exorcism and an interesting mad theological scientist plot twist. We watch with interest as a blaze Christopher lays out the rules, unfazed taking the whole phenomenon in his stride and preparing for work, hammering constraints onto a chair and firing out reassuring religious garble: “Don’t worry, God, won’t let anything bad happen to you…God never abandons anyone to evil.”
Unfortunately, although the film is inventive within the genre, much of the story-telling feels contrived and relies on Ouija board clichés. Excluding Emma, characters feel under-written and sub-acted, with a particularly pathetic father-figure. As Exorcismus ups the bizarre, it starts to feel more and more budget with some clumsy and over-dramatic scene transitions. An interesting premise flounders in a laughable farcical ending. Sadly Exorcismus promises all the glory of a midsummer’s day riddled with sudden flash floods.
Director: Manuel Carballo
Writer: David Muñoz
Running Time: 97 mins
Starring: Doug Bradley, Sophie Vavasseur, Stephen Billington, Jo-Anne Stockham, Tommy Bastow, Richard Felix
Exorcismus is released on the 14th of February 2011
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