Review – The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

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the-exorcism-of-emily-rose-526451c2befc9Welcome to Mind Control Month | Possession Week – Day 1. Well, we’re onto a brand new themed week for Mind Control Month. We’re talking demonic possession this time, because hey, we can call that a case of mind control, can’t we? Well, as long as it’s done right. First up, we’re taking a look at The Exorcism of Emily Rose. There is no rhyme or reason as to why I picked these movies this week, but for the most part, it’s because I hadn’t seen these particular films. So let’s get into it, starting with the plot.

The nineteen years old Catholic college girl Emily Rose dies a couple of days after being submitted to an exorcism carried out by her parish priest, Father Moore. Emily believed she was possessed by six demons, and although authorized by Emily and he parents, Father Moore is accused of negligent homicide, since he had suggested Emily to interrupt the use of medications for epilepsy. In order to avoid a scandal, the Archdiocese hires the successful, ambitious and agnostic lawyer Erin Bruner, and the prosecution assigns the religious prosecutor Ethan Thomas. Along the days, there is a battle between science and religion in the court. – IMDb

Whenever you think about this movie, you should think of it as ‘the one with the court case and false advertisement’, because that’s ultimately what it is. To prepare for this movie, I watched the main theatrical trailer for the film and there is one quick shot of the actual courtroom. The rest of the trailer shows a bunch of “scary moments” that you went to the movie to see. However, it’s not a scary movie, it’s a legal drama – and the film never tried to prepare you for that fact before the film came out – it prepared you for something else – so this is one of those cases where it’s a clear case of false advertisement, which automatically means disappointing.

But just because it had false advertisement doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad movie. Let’s go ahead and break down The Exorcism of Emily Rose to interpret the stars.

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PEOPLE SCORE – 7/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 1|Casting – 2|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 1

First off, we look at the people category. Now, I’ll forewarn you for the rest of the week, a lot of the films will have similar scores in the acting subcategory because the movies start out really well acted and then turn to absurdity. I mean, I get it, the people are possessed by a demon, but I’ve yet to really believe a performance for possession. So, the same applies here, everyone does fine until the madness ensues. The characters were mostly fine. The only people you’ll really remember are probably Emily Rose, the lawyer, and preacher. Everyone else, including the judge, prosecutor, and Emily Rose’s family is forgettable. I did like the casting though. Strictly speaking, horror films typically have a bunch of unknown actors with maybe one slightly known actor. While I wouldn’t call anyone in the movie A-class actors, I would say that most of them are still recognizable, which is pretty awesome to see in a horror film. Importance-wise, I’d say that everyone, forgettable or not, was there for a reason, and they all did a good job backing up their purpose in the film. Chemistry itself is okay but nothing special.

WRITING SCORE – 9/10
Dialogue – 2|Balance – 2|Story – 2|Originality – 2|Interesting – 1

I did give the writing score a pretty decent rating, and that’s because they had a good idea. They did, they just advertised it wrong. So, as a court drama, this film immediately has a good sense of dialogue. This is a court case that hits all the major points while following the story of Emily Rose, so it was balanced really well. Is it a good story? A court drama based on a real case questioning demonic possession? That’s a good story, a story I want to hear – which I also think is pretty original in general. It took demonic possession to a different level and you’ve gotta give it credit for that. Finally, would I consider this an interesting film? I thought the concept was interesting, but once I started watching it, that interest faded away.

BTS SCORE – 5/10
Visuals – 2|Directing – 1|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 0|Music – 1

Alright, now we move onto the things going on behind-the-scenes. Remember my argument about false advertisement? It gets marked down first at this point. That being said, the visuals were pretty good…at least in parts. The directing was fine, the editing was fine, but it was mostly stuff that I feel like I could’ve done just as easily, so I don’t exactly call it challenging enough to be noticeable. Finally, the music in the film flies past my ears. It was typical.

NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 8/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 1|Falling Action – 1

As far as the narrative structure is considered, it mostly did just fine. There was bits and pieces that could’ve used some help though, mostly in the climax and falling action. Because it’s a court case, your climax usually has to do with the verdict, but it doesn’t feel like a big culmination of everything put together. It’s exactly what you expect, which isn’t great. As for falling action, you have some ending text, but that’s not as good as a real falling action and returning to a new norm, but it is something. Past that, you have the introduction, which starts everything – Emily Rose is dead from a possession gone wrong. Inciting incident is just when the lawyer takes the case. The obstacles were basically just the prosecution vs. the defense. Basic stuff here, fellers.

ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 2/10
Rewatchability – 1|Fun – 0|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 0|Sucks you in – 1

Alright, so was it an entertaining movie by any means? Eh…here and there, sure. I think the concept was probably more entertaining than the actual execution, especially since no one really expected it to be 95% court drama. Rewatchability? Maybe, if the right conditions appear. Sucks you in? I think it does suck the audience in at certain points, but the extension of the court drama really does the opposite. I don’t really think any of it is all that fun to watch and experience, I don’t care to buy it, own it, or even really talk about it with anyone. Instead, I think this film might end up being long forgotten very soon.

SPECIALTY SCORE – 30/50
Mind Control – 5|Possession – 5|Horror – 0|Drama – 10|Halfway Decent – 10

We now move onto the five questions that I asked before seeing the movie. Firstly, it is mind control month, so did that play a factor here? Well, demonic possession is certainly a variation of controlling one’s mind, and this has to deal with that, but because it’s more of a possession vs. mental illness thing, it was barely even recognizable other than the classic possession scenes. Looking deeper, how was this film as a demonic possession film? I’ll give it half points for being different, but that difference does take me out of it a little bit. This is also classified as a horror film and this isn’t scary nor does it really seem to try to be at any given point. It is also classified as a drama – and it is most certainly a drama – a court drama to be exact. Full points there. Finally, was it halfway decent? It really depends on who you ask, but in general, I believe that they attempted something brave and bold and for the most part, they did exactly what they wanted to do, so I have to at least say yes there.

TOTAL – 61/100

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