Exorcismus (2010)

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Exorcismus: La Posesion de Emma Evans (2010)

(18) Running Time: 98 minutes

Director: Manuel Carballo

Writer: David Munoz

Starring: Doug Bradley, Tommy Bastow, Sophie Vavasseur

Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic

So many films get made about Exorcisms and people being possessed, I lose count. Generally though, possession and exorcism films rarely disappoint. Recently we have had the brilliant The Last Exorcism, and the equally fantastic The Exorcism of Emily Rose and of course for me The Exorcist is the greatest horror film ever made, and then you get the stinkers like An American Haunting. Exorcismus falls just into the bracket of good and imaginative horror and at times the damned thing did actually scare me! Emma Evans is your usual fifteen year old girl, with an attitude problem and a want to be left alone to do her own thing. On a night with friends, they take part in a Ouiji board, and this, along with another shocking turn of events, lead the poor girl to start behaving in unimaginable ways. Her family have no idea what to do, and so call in the aid of an exorcist and family friend.

Things are not that straight forward mind, and it takes a good while before the exorcist is called in. Emma seems normal, however we soon witness her coming home and slicing into her wrist in a freak display of anger and hate. Emma is clearly troubled, and her suffocating home life is not helping. What I really liked about this film is that we witness Emma’s descent into madness and share her fears and confusion. Normally exorcism films start with a Priest being called in and we learn through flashbacks and the like. Here though, we witness Emma start to lose it, and we share her fears and pain and utter loss of control. We see her almost drown her younger brother in a shocking scene that see’s her consumed by the entity, we see many scenes if the Demon taking over, like where she almost shares a lesbian clinch with her best mate, we see spasms and increasingly abnormal changes in her personality. We are there though every moment, and we see the fear in her eyes as Emma (expertly played by Sophie Vavasseur) simply falls apart. Her parents are decent, ordinary and hardworking folk who care deeply for her well-being, and it is painful to see them helpless in what to do. Exorcismus works best when raw emotions are used and the love of caring parents simply cannot win this incredibly horrific situation over. Giving in and calling on a Priest is the last thing the parents want to do, but they must do something to save their daughter.

Some of the Priests methods shock the parents, and it is not until they truly realise how dangerous Emma has become that they really start to understand. People start dying, and all the while Emma gets worse. This film will unsettle and shock and really test your nerves in places. A scene showing the Priest in hos last exorcism which made the headlines for all the wrong reasons is almost unbearable to watch. Your nerves will be on edge and the more you get involved and understand this poor family, the more unsettling the film becomes. That’s not to say it is without its flaws, and the film is far from perfect. Some of the scares are either badly timed or blatantly obvious, while at other times the voices coming from Emma are so bad they are laughable. Some scenes which are clearly intended to scare try too hard and come off looking more like cheap tricks by a director who is out of his depth. However, the majority of the film is very real and very disturbing. The location is unique, a normal estate that could well be the street across the road, and the odd camera shot of the house intensifies the horror. The family is normal, no one truly believing in possession, so gone are the big brash American “the power of Christ compels you!!” type stuff, and in are the suttle, gentle changes in behaviour that at times will deeply disturb. The intrusive camera increases the level of terror as it makes the whole thing feel almost like a documentary. Using techniques so brilliantly designed by Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum) the camera sits, watches, then uses sudden extreme close up, or quickly pans from one character to the next. The camera work gives the film a real sense of urgency and helps with those slow, talky moments to make them feel ever more relivant. The music, when there some, lifts the film too, and the whole atmosphere is that of dread and pure evil lurking. Exorcismus may not win any awards for being the most original or scariest film of the genre, but my God it certainly does try to do something a little fresh. At times it will disappoint, at others it may feel cliched, but for the most part Exorcismus is a frightening and nerve shattering experience that stands proud amongst some of the best exorcism movie out there.

Rating: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆


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About Matt Wavish 598 Articles
A keen enthusiast and collector of all horror and extreme films. I can be picky as i like quality in my horror. This doesn't necessarily mean it has to be a classic, but as long as it has something to impress me then i'm a fan. I watch films by the rule that if it doesn't bring out some kind of emotive response then it aint worth watching.

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