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Exorcismus, from the production company of REC and REC2, is a thoroughly watchable horror about 15 year-old Emma played by Sophie Vavasseur (Resident Evil, Apocalypse) who leads a normal teenage life until she starts having frightening fits. Her parents attribute them to psychological issues but, after a trip to a psychologist goes horrifically wrong, it becomes apparent that something more sinister is inside Emma and wants to get out.
With London as the backdrop, Emma seeks help from her Uncle (Stephen Billington), a Priest who has been disowned by the Catholic Church for carrying out an exorcism years before without seeking permission. He believes he can help cast out what is hiding inside her and begins to perform the exorcism, recording every move, without informing the Church.
This is very much an Urban Exorcist, with the action becoming more creepily intense as events unfold and a terrifying chain of events threaten to destroy everything that Emma holds dear to her.
Granted, Exorcismus is just another addition in a long line of exorcism movies – The Last Exorcism and The Exorcism of Emily Rose to name just two – but what makes this stand out is how it is written, acted and produced. We watch an ordinary family in ordinary everyday situations until the devil comes knocking. Naturally you have to suspend your disbelief but this film has enough to keep you on in suspense until the neat twists towards the end.
Exorcismus is directed by Spanish Manuel Carballo and for the first half hour the camera is unsteady, zooming in and out all the time. It’s like it’s trying to be a funky “24” meets “NCIS” but ultimately becomes distracting and irritating. Perhaps Manuel was hoping to make the audience feel we’re dropping in on the family and are privy to their secrets. However as the film progresses and sanity unravels, the shakiness stops and we are left dealing with the sobriety that only grief can bring.
This is a very interesting film with some brilliant acting, especially from Sophie in the lead role, who convincingly pulls off the vulnerability of a 15 year old who is in the thralls of a possession. Many will enjoy this movie. It will have its critics as it’s not fast-paced but there are some genuinely scary moments and great special effects that will leave most people satisfied.
Exorcismus is released on DVD on February 14th by Entertainment One and is perfect for an Anti-Valentine’s Day treat!
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