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Break out the holy water! This reviewer's been possessed by EMILY ROSE!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a very positive review of the upcoming horror flick THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE. This is another positive to put on the pile... The advance word on this film is stellar and I'm really looking forward to it, especially if it's as much of a throwback as people are saying it is. You get a fairly detailed rundown of the plot, so if you need to stay pure you might want to tread lightly. Enjoy!!!

Hey guys. Vincent Hanna here with a review of The Exorcism of Emily Rose, if you're interested. Thanks.

Don’t be fooled by the trailer and TV spots for The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Though clips of ghoulish faces are prominently featured in an attempt to sell it as a horror flick, those scenes comprise all of a few seconds of actual screen time.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which is based on a true story, is more of a mystery and courtroom drama than horror movie. That said, there are some creepy, intense moments scattered throughout, and it’s a high-quality effort well worth seeing.

The movie begins after young Emily is already dead. A medical examiner comes to the Rose family’s isolated farmhouse in order to pronounce a cause of death. He informs the family that he can’t say for certain Emily’s death was the result of natural causes.

We then meet attorney Erin Bruner (Laura Linney). Fresh off a high-profile acquittal that has returned her to rising star status at her firm, Erin’s boss (Colm Feore) informs her that a Catholic priest, Father Richard Moore (Tom Wilkinson), will be charged with negligent homicide in the death of Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter). The local archdiocese has specifically requested that Erin defend him.

A cynical agnostic, Erin takes the case for one reason only: a longtime junior partner, she wants to be elevated to senior partner status. Do a good job defending Moore, and her name will be on the law firm door. Other than that, she has no interest in Moore or the case itself. Erin doesn’t spend much time considering spiritual matters.

Interestingly, the prosecutor on the case is a religious man, Ethan Thomas (Campbell Scott). Though not a Catholic, Ethan is a devoted man of faith known for being tenacious in the courtroom. In a brief meeting with Erin prior to the start of the trial, Ethan informs her that he is not concerned with forgiveness in this matter. A young girl is dead, and “the people” want justice.

Moore refuses to even consider accepting a deal because he insists that Emily’s story must be told. The trial commences, and the story shifts back and forth between the past and the present as testimony continues.

The prosecution presents their case first. They insist that Emily suffered from epilepsy and psychosis, which could have been cured if she had continued to take medication. But she stopped because Moore told her to, and eventually died of malnutrition. Thomas constantly shows a grisly photo of her dead body to the jury. It does not appear to have been a calm, painless death.

On the other hand, the defense claims that Emily suffered from demonic possession, and that Moore loved her dearly and only wanted to help her. He had the family’s and Emily’s blessing to do so (the archdiocese isn’t quite as supportive considering the outcome). Moore testifies in his own defense, as does an anthropologist (House of Sand and Fog’s Shohreh Aghdashloo). She states that certain people are more receptive or sensitive to bodily possession and things of that nature, supporting the belief that it’s entirely possible Emily’s possession was real. Meanwhile, in flashbacks we watch as Emily quickly morphs from a happy university student (she earns a full scholarship) to a tormented, sick individual who suffers from hallucinations and violent seizures.

The trial itself is fascinating as it presents both sides of the story, though the movie definitely seems to favor the version offered up by the defense. Moore is portrayed as a decent, committed priest and Erin slowly but surely becomes convinced that he did nothing wrong. She even begins to experience strange, inexplicable things (which tend to happen at 3 A.M. for reasons that are explained by Moore during the trial).

The filmmakers do an excellent job of smoothly alternating between the trial and the events that lead up to Emily’s exorcism. The outcome of the trial is eagerly anticipated, but never to the point where you wish the movie would speed up the proceedings (it runs almost exactly two hours and the pacing is just about perfect).

Though the meat of the story takes place in the courtroom, the flashbacks provide the jolts alluded to in the trailer, and a few sequences are genuinely tense. Specifically, when Emily is first “possessed” by demons and the exorcism itself. Her pupils turn black, her voice deepens and her body violently contorts in ways it definitely isn’t supposed to. Some audience members laughed during these scenes because of the odd angles her body transforms to, but they’re highly effective and more than a little frightening as well.

If viewers go in expecting a straight-up horror movie, they are likely to be disappointed. I overheard a few people grumbling about it not being scary enough. However, the story itself is extremely compelling and writers Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson (who also directs) tell it extremely well. Details are presented slowly but surely, allowing ample time to consider both sides of the story. You almost feel like a member of the jury, carefully considering whose version you believe more.

I found it refreshing that for the most part the movie avoids horror clichés and only uses special effects sparingly, to provide a glimpse of what Emily was seeing and feeling.

There are a few shortcomings. As the movie progresses, Thomas almost becomes a conventional villain, repeatedly berating witnesses (you half expect him to twist his mustache) and acting like an asshole. Then again, maybe he was really like that. A bigger flaw is Moore himself. He remains somewhat of an enigma (Erin emerges as the main character), which is unfortunate since he is the man on trial. We learn very little about him, such as why he loves Emily so much and what makes him tick.

Overall, however, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is provocative and fulfilling. Deliberate but never boring and smart but never pretentious, with solid performances all-around, it raises complex questions and lets the viewer decide what the answers are. The verdict itself reinforces the struggle between fact and possibility, which pretty much sums up the movie.

Highly recommended.

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 27, 2005, 2:44 a.m. CST


    by Frank The Rabbit

    Need to see this.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 2:48 a.m. CST


    by loafroaster

    Sounds like a decent enough flick, glad to hear that the trailers do not do the film justice; I was getting worried about seeing another Exorcist:The Beginning made out of a promising premise.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 3:07 a.m. CST


    by marsjam

    this sounds like a very interesting horror/courtroom drama movie, a mix between intellectual and theological..hmmm. what would make it work even better would be the fantanas in the commercials before the movie

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 3:25 a.m. CST


    by Stile

    If there's no crucifix masturbation, I'm just not interested.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 5:41 a.m. CST


    by coolhive

    While well written, this "review" is obviously some electronic press kit synopsis cooked up by the studio to drum up interest in an obscure little movie, and to pander to the pimply-faced fanboy universe. Why can't the studios just call it what it is and release the info at face value? Still, after the horrible Exorcist sequel, this subject matter is still underutilized and I have high hopes for it. Time will tell...

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 5:47 a.m. CST

    Summary: trash, with plagiarised scenes and concepts, and the wh

    by SalvatoreGravano

    And here's a telling frame from this "film": Yes, a cat. (Where's the piano, though?)

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 5:52 a.m. CST

    By the way, Plancent Planna, tell the PR department to mention t

    by SalvatoreGravano

    I.e. herds of 15 year old pimplemuzzles infecting every place they can find and vomitting out "yo i herd it wuz liek basd on a tru storie but i cant find nutin bout no emlie rose cn u help xoxoxo yo".

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 5:58 a.m. CST

    Everyone remembers or has seen footage of the commotion that the

    by Sepulchrave

    But, apart from becoming one of my favourite 'cup of comforting cocoa' horror movies, The Exorcist was and remains a love letter to the Catholic Church and a vindication of religious superstition. This movie, judged by the trailer, seems similar. Tom Wilkinson makes a great man of integrity, just like Jason Miller in the original. What bothers me is that the original Exorcist was supposedly based on a very famous possession case that was widely reported about 70 years ago, and whioch the church used to use in sermons as an example of the Devil's power. My dad remembers hearing about it in Catholic school in the 50's. Of course, as with every other case of possession, there were and are no tapes, photos or any other visual or auditory evidence at all. I mistrust movies that purport to elevate faith over medical diagnosis of epilepsy or schitzophrenia. There are too many deluded people in the US who believe in angels and demons; demons disguised as serial-killers, demons who cause child-molesting, demons who cause homosexuality and abortion. It's just the easiest, most infantile way of dealing with evidence of human depravity; blame it on something inhuman that nobody can see or destroy. Place your faith in Jeebus instead of facing the fact that evil, real evil, comes from only one place; people's heads. And it doesn't need to pull faces at you through the tinted windows of back BMWs. Screw Christian propaganda.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 7:01 a.m. CST

    there are photos of the real emily rose...

    by ectocriminal

    in her last hours. they look like someone with a bad case of untreated schizophenia. but it could be satan too. it's just that every time satan imbibes me with his infernal powers of the underworld, i have to pay with small chunks of my soul or blood sacrifice. emily gets a free preview, and everyone's complaining. this upsets and confounds the mighty satan. i will try to find a web address with pics of emily rose's last hours posted. i'm sure they're abundant now that some made ANOTHER PG-13 HORROR FILM about her. does satan need to remind us all that there is nothing pg-13 about horror? i won't tell him about this, he's already miffed this morning.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 7:49 a.m. CST

    The "possession" case that inspired Blatty was just another case

    by SalvatoreGravano

    Anyway, Satan wants your soles:

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 8:55 a.m. CST


    by ectocriminal

    some of the fellas that visit this website don't ever have any mind paid to their opinions in the real world and the reflection of this in talkback is long headers, i.e., don't ignore my post please. a cry for recognition and interaction. it's an easy enough mechanism of the human psyche to figure out, so why pick it to the bone when these folks are already insecure? that being said, folks, please use a journalistic pyramid scheme when posting and have a tiny header. if you want people to listen, make it catchy, i.e., 'man fucked to death by horse'. emily rose will be derivative drivel, mighty satan has informed me. he says the results of hell on earth would really push the limits of the pg-13 rating. he says certain idividuals gave him copious amounts of oral sex so that films like the grudge and alien vs. predator made some $$$$.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Why is it that the lawyer is always an opposing force, agn

    by The True Priapic

    i.e.Denzil Washingbore in Philadelphia.This is going to be rubbish.Face it.And why do the devils below always posess kids and not world leaders,and why don't they ever give valid evidence for their existence,that'd fuck up God's plan wouldn't it?Rubbish.In the old days people with mental problems like schizophrenia would be labelled possessed.Nothing much has changed.Rubbish....

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 9:04 a.m. CST

    Why is every well-written review now met with screaming charges

    by Johnny Ahab

    Maybe...this film is actually good. What clues me in is the level of talent: Laura Linney, Campbell Scott & Tom Wilkinson -- all of these folks are actor's actors, people who don't just sign on to movies because they're paydays, but rather they pick scripts that are well-written and interesting. (And before someone screams "Hey, Laura Linney did "CONGO" for fuck's sake!", that was early in her career -- now she can pick and choose projects.) They're not movie stars, which I view as a plus, and the chance to see them acting up a creep-storm sounds good to me. Will see what the critical mass is over at when this comes out, but I'm intrigued...

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 9:07 a.m. CST

    I think a plant would try to sell this as the scariest shit sinc

    by DerLanghaarige

    And not as a courtroom drama.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 10:47 a.m. CST

    more pg13 crap

    by buddhabliss

    The first trailer looked interesting and creepy.The trailer their pimping now has cheap cartoony cgi and its PG13.I'm sure the dvd will be the unrated directors version.I've practically given up on Hollywood movies.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 11:55 a.m. CST

    Why Doesn't Satan posess world leaders?

    by Guy Gaduois

    He doesn't? Are you sure? We like to think we've got bad guys in the west, but check out some of these crazy evil bastards in Africa (Idi Amin, we're looking at your cold, dead, corpse) and that cat that runs the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, with his Stevie Wonder hairdo is one horrible mf. Mao, Stalin, Hitler all make Nixon look like the easter bunny. Our worst leaders don't do those guys' evil any kind of challenge. I agree to a point that evil comes from within, but I've got to credit some pretty serious outside influence for some of the heinous shite that gets done in the world. That whole line about the Devil's greatest accomplishment was making everyone believe he isn't real . . . something to that.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 12:07 p.m. CST


    by Doc_McCoy

    This 'review' sounds like an infomercial. "provocative and fulfilling" -- Hahahaha.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 12:07 p.m. CST


    by Doc_McCoy

    This 'review' sounds like an infomercial. "provocative and fulfilling" -- Hahahaha.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 1:27 p.m. CST

    Why do ghost movies claim to be based on a true story?

    by Some Dude

    Not even the Passion had the balls to make such a claim. Although, I suppose it would make for a neat twist if at the end we found out the Emily Rose just needed her meds. That would make for a true story.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 1:46 p.m. CST


    by mrwho

    I for one can't wait to see this movie. Someone mentioned earlier in this talkback that there was no evidence of the demonic posession that inspired the Exorcism movies, there are recorded (in priest's journals) events of the boy destroying holy objects, moving furniture when he was laying on a bed, and when asked questions, sometimes words would appear on his chest/stomach like someone had cut him with a knife.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 2:06 p.m. CST

    I don't know much about this story, but..

    by Omegaman

    I do know about cases involving religious kooks performing exorcisms and ending up killing the people that were supposedly psssessed. If this movie is trying to suggest that the possession was real then its, first of all, an incredibly stupid movie, and secondly, an irresponsible one. I can understand making a 'horror movie' based on this topic, like "The Exorcist", but I can't understand anyone wanting to try to pass it off as 'a true story'. I can imagine being very frustrated trying to watch a movie that gives 'equal time', and then ends up taking the side of the crackpots yet! Reminds me of the 'Intelligent Design' vs evolution debate.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Folks, look at "ectocriminal" and see a perfect example of the n

    by BarneyBlarney

    He's too moronic even to understand the difference between "id est" and "exempli gratia" -- and yet he tries to use those expressions he cannot comprehend! That's hilariously pathetic, actually. (I'll bet he doesn't even know the language of those expressions, so I'll give him a hint: it's the language that one Dan Quayle, another fine product of US "schools", once wanted to learn so that he could use it to converse in Latin America.)

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 4:32 p.m. CST

    Addressing the above concerns...

    by jollysleeve

    Dudes, it's BASED on a true story. That seems to be a perfectly valid claim in this case. To me, "based on a true story" is not the same as claiming you're a documentary or a fair and balanced news report. A little creative leeway is okay here, although certainly not as much as the "inspired by" moniker allows.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 4:58 p.m. CST

    Non-education in the USA

    by vic twenty

    Every child in the United States has access to a good education if they aggresively pursue it. There are countless stories of poor rural and urban kids who have 'made it' simply because they tried. Too many kids have too many excuses (or distractions) to even give a shit. It is difficult to argue for an enlightened America when evolution is considered only 1/2 the story and stem cell research is portrayed as voodoo. Damn me and my silly thinking, I'd better go get me some Jesus.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 5:21 p.m. CST


    by ectocriminal

    hey sorry i offended you. from now on i'll use, 'for example'. education is in a bad spot in the u.s. what with no child left behind and mainstreaming going on. sorry i was an example of what makes people laugh at the u.s. by being so grammatically incapable. notice i don't capitalize or always use correct grammar because i'm in a hurry to type and get back to tending your mom's snatch. she's insatiable, i.e., impossible to satisfy, i.e. go fuck yourself you insecure elitist chump. next time you post have something to say you miserable toilet stain.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 6:20 p.m. CST


    by liljuniorbrown

    It used to be that if you were religous and you were around people that were not,or vice versa,you didn't discuss it so that you wouldn't offend anybody. Now people seek out any reason they can find to bash religon,christianity in general takes a beating during every topic from Politics to Entertainment and Muslims will never be able to go through the public without scrutiny again thanks to terrorism which is not what all Muslims belive in.Most people say it's because the President has been elected twice by this huge unseen extremist right wing christian army that's taking over the world and thats why we are in Iraq and there's nothing good on TV or at the movies. Statements like what that Pat Robertson guy made the other day back up that theory. But it's kind of like what the person posted earlier about how "The greatest accomplishment Satan ever had was making the world think he didn't exsist". Tolerance for christians and christianity in general has went to zero in the past decade,what does that mean? Read the Bible, any denomination from Catholic to Penecastol and you'll see the same thing , "In the last days you will be persecuted for your belief in christ,You will be chastised imprisoned and driven from your land.When these things come to past know my bretheren the end is of all things is near". But then again the Bible is just a book written by men that ignorant zealots read because they don't know any better,right? I'm going to stick with avoiding religous conversations. It's safer that way.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 6:37 p.m. CST

    temporary immaturity

    by ectocriminal

    the your mom thing, repeating i.e. joke. but seriously blarneybarney, i hope you run in critical circles and not in academic ones, because it's people like you who poison the well of education. instead of kindly pointing out my error and correcting me, you degraded something as broad as the u.s. educational system and its ties to one of our more famously uninformed politicians. you tried to intimidate with your intellect, which i'm sure is at least above average and probably very well honed in one or two subject areas. the point is, you have to use that big noggin of yours to do something except make up for your insecurities. you can't try to keep what's in your head all locked up to make you look big in FUCKING AICN TALKBACK. in levels of education above high school, in the u.s. anyway, a lot of insecure people like you try to keep knowledge esoteric so they can keep a job, thus stifling the learning curve at a critical point. you've got to put some of those insecurities of yours to rest and influence someone. you're a sad person, blarneybarney, and i hope you can find it in you to quit being a douchebag and use your intelligence for something positive. by the way, i work primarily as a landscaper and substitute teacher, for a middle school. labor and education can always use an intelligent fighter to help improve the situation (in any country). keep it in mind.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 6:51 p.m. CST

    blarneyblarney just got pwned

    by Cameron1

    Oh, blarneyblarney by the way ecto's sentence reads correctly.______ "...the reflection of this in talkback is long headers, i.e., don't ignore my post please. id est, is "that is" which is the correct term for the sentence. It was True Priapic who used it incorrectly and he's english.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 7:28 p.m. CST

    I've seen it, and I'm guessing Plant

    by TRX78

    I saw this flick at the sneak in Raleigh, NC this past Thursday night. It does , in fact, try to be both a supernatural thiller and a courtroom drama. However, it fails to be either. Rent it if you are bored. Maybe.

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 8:42 p.m. CST

    Why do people have so much bitching to do about a movie they hav

    by DuncanHines

    Apart from the comment immediately above mine, that is. I got to see a free screening of this movie in Philly on Thursday night. I definitely walked in expecting it to be The Exorcist: Part 27 or whatever, and was pleasantly surprised with the movie I saw. And I was glad it was not the movie I expected to see. It was pretty damn good, and I'll probably pay to see it again.

  • Aug. 28, 2005, 1:03 a.m. CST

    Man fucked to death by horse

    by ScarranHalfBreed

    I'd rather see green puke spouting out of someone's mouth than watch a child seek attention from a bunch of gullible Americans. Still, could be worth seeing if the film looked at it from that perspective as well as from the persepective of the gullible Americans.

  • Aug. 28, 2005, 2:03 a.m. CST


    by TRX78

    Really? You'd pay eight of your hard earned dollars to watch that again? Well, I'm not going to debate over whether or not you should like the flick. But, I would like to know if you will agree that most of the movie is about hinting to plot devices that never quite manifest into anything? That's the impression I got. Even the defense's closing speach was all about no conclusion. Anyway, I was just wondering what your thoughts on that might be.

  • Aug. 28, 2005, 3:15 a.m. CST


    by Lefty Lefterson

    Would a plant use the word 'asshole' in his review? If so, then this might be the most realistic plant ever.

  • Aug. 28, 2005, 7:29 a.m. CST

    A "high-quality effort"?

    by JimmyJAMF

    What are you talking about? Sell stain remover, don't write anymore reviews.

  • Aug. 28, 2005, 8:16 a.m. CST


    by ectocriminal

    just defending myself from an attacking post from blarneybarney. i'm glad you're so easily offended by posts that have nothing to do with you whatsoever. and don't worry about your small penis. it's genetic. your dad has one too.

  • Aug. 28, 2005, 12:46 p.m. CST

    A good review - so it must be a plant!

    by Veraxus

    Because all good reviews are obviously plants. I mean, who makes good movies any more? Really.

  • Aug. 28, 2005, 3:08 p.m. CST

    I was possessed once

    by one man orgy

    but it cleared up. Thank you Valtrex.

  • Aug. 28, 2005, 5:10 p.m. CST


    by TRX78

    A good review for a bad movie is subject to be considered a plant. I never said this person IS a plant. I said I was GUESSING they are a plant. I can honestly say that it have to stretch my imagination to see how someone would enjoy that film. I'm not going to say no one can ever like it. But, the thought that someone did, in fact, enjoy that film so much that they felt the need to write a raving review for is a tough pill for me to swallow.

  • Aug. 28, 2005, 5:43 p.m. CST

    sometimes words would appear on his chest/stomach like someone h

    by Harker-Writes

    Yes, sure they did. Boy are there some dumb suckers on this site. I'm all for a good horror movie but let's drop the 'based on a true story' garbage. There is no boogie man. Get over it.

  • Aug. 28, 2005, 6:19 p.m. CST

    Needs More Bruce Campbell

    by Hate_Speech

    and a pinch of cowbell

  • Aug. 28, 2005, 10:33 p.m. CST

    Hainesrs and BlarneyBlarney

    by YouInRawbIns?

    need to shut the fuck up. Way to attack someone based on his writing. Get a life, both of you.

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 2:27 a.m. CST

    scrivener, you fool

    by Doc_McCoy

    If I suspect a 'reviewer' is a plant, it's not just because he wrote a positive 'review', it's the way he wrote it, the language he chose to use, what he decided to praise about the movie, and what he decided to criticize. Some positive reviews on this site sound genuine. This one, to me, does not.

  • Aug. 30, 2005, 8:28 a.m. CST

    Did you just say...

    by Mr Bungle

    ...The Ring was scary as hell? What the hell are you on? That movie was shit. It took a great subtley creepy Japanese movie and turned it into an overblown CGIfest. There's nothing remotely intelligent about that remake at all. Good PG-13 horror? There ain't much, but even Rose Red was scarier than the Ring remake. Stick with the Asian versions, they know how to build suspense rather than attempt to assault the senses with cheap jumps. Scariest PG-13 (15's, whatever) was that TV movie The Haunted. The father getting raped by a ghost was a scarring experience when I was a lad.

  • Aug. 30, 2005, 2:01 p.m. CST

    The Ring was not very good. It was very bad.

    by HypeEndsHere

    It was silly and boring and slow. And just. When you. Think it's. Going to end. It doesn't.

  • Aug. 30, 2005, 2:18 p.m. CST

    by mrwho

    Harker-Writes, the stuff I mentioned was what a Catholic priest had recorded in his journal, and was witnessed by 2 or 3 other priests

  • Aug. 30, 2005, 3:10 p.m. CST

    dude, relax your sphincter

    by HypeEndsHere

    i'm not an idiot. actually, i'm somewhat bright. i don't think people who like The Ring are stupid. I just stated I didn't like it. save the insults for people who love/hate Star Wars or something. so while "in your experience" stupid people think movies like the Ring are slow, allow room for the possiblity that intelligent ones may think that as well. it wasn't Relic bad, but there were almost as many laughs.