Scares. Without a doubt.
Cast: Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Campbell Scott, Jennifer Carpenter
Director: Scott Derrickson
Storyline: Did the devout 19-year old Emily Rose die because of
demonic possession or because she stopped medical treatment?
Bottomline: The perfect date movie
For every two dozen attempts Hollywood makes in manufacturing horror, it succeeds once or twice every year. ‘Exorcism of Emily Rose’ is among the rare horror flicks that succeed in spooking you out, even if it’s just a little.
Though based on the true story of Anneliese Michel, the epileptic German girl who died in 1976 believing she was possessed by demons, the movie dramatises and even heavily fictionalises incidents that, at least, momentarily make you believe that evil exists.
While the Church had declared that Anneliese was not really possessed as she believed, here the writer-director goes the extra yard to convince you about the supernatural.
But what is most fascinating about this horror yarn, apart from its super slick technical brilliance, is the intellectual content that’s rather hard to find in the genre.
If Robert Zemeckis’ ‘Contact’ was about the conflict of science versus religion, Derrickson’s tale here attempts to be a more balanced conflict between doubt and belief. Unlike Eleanor Arroway (Jodie Foster in Contact) who was an atheist, Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) here
So when you see the whole story of Emily Rose through the eyes of an agnostic, you tend to get involved in the tale with the right mix of doubt and logic. You begin reading up on the true story of the ‘Exorcism of Anneliese Michel’. And, you begin to think of the possibilities. That is where ‘Exorcism of Emily Rose’ succeeds.
Apart from the doses of intrigue, there are moments guaranteed to scare you. College girls shrieked, held each other tightly and giggled at every jolt of horror unleashed upon them. The others tried hard to laugh out loud just to ensure that they don’t get sucked into the tale. The fake laugh in the audience is evidence that the movie does have a pretty neat scare quotient.
With the neat blend of horror, science, logic, scares and thrills, the movie is perfect for the date.
Watch her hold you tight. Put your arms around and enjoy.
(That last line was chopped at the desk because apparently, when I said ‘Enjoy,’ they thought I was talking about the girl … I meant the movie!)