Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Exorcismus



** / *****
It is truthfully hard for me not to discuss Exorcismus without focusing in depth on the twist. The twist really fuels my entire critique on the film’s strengths. Without it, Exorcismus might have just fallen into the abyss of the exorcism/demon possession genre. And I think it really hits at the heart of the film’s tragedy.

The priest in the family, Father Christopher (Steven Billington), seizes on an opportunity to clear his name, repair his reputation in the Catholic Church, when his niece, Emma (Sophie Vavasseur) is possessed by a demon (or maybe even Ole Scratch himself). It seems Ole Scratch got the best of Christopher in a previous exorcism when an attending Member of the Clergy called time on their session and the girl died. But Christopher doesn’t conduct his exorcism in the typical, traditional fashion. Emma can leave the room, eat at the dinner table, ride with a friend to wherever, etc. While she does spend time in a room meant for Chris’ exorcism sessions, it isn’t a long term exorcism until the demon/devil clears or leaves her body. But when Emma shows signs that what evil possesses her arrives and leaves at will, causing her to act out in irrational/unpleasant ways, one has to wonder about Chris’ decision to do this.

Christopher insists on recording the exorcisms. These audio tapes are quite important to him. What seems to be prolonging the exorcism of Emma? And why does it seem that instead of the evil inside Emma diminishing it seems to be getting stronger? Yeah, the family is resistant to any exorcism, until she suffers a levitation in the kitchen after nearly dousing her mom’s head with boiling water. Christopher gets free access to perform his own brand of exorcism, outside the orders of the Church. That alone is a huge red flag, you’d think. But he proceeds because she’s family and he supposedly wants to help.

Then the film gets really interesting. How the evil came to possess Emma is explained. She learned it from somewhere. She’s a teenager desperately wanting freedom away from her guarded parents inside a homeschool, protective environment. Her friends have the face piercings and rebellious attitude but are just kids ultimately. When her pal Marcus hits a tree trying to keep her from going out his moving car (she saw roaches coming out of his mouth), and girlfriend, Rose, is appalled at what appeared to be an open lesbian embrace that seemed as a joke; both appear motivated by possession. Well, once her brother goes into a road to get a soccer ball Emma, once again possessed, throws in that direction for him to give chase, causing the kid to be hit by a car, it all goes to spit for the family. The mother, Lucy (Jo-Anne Stockham), is so wounded she nearly stabs Emma with scissors, turning the pair on herself. Emma then unveils how she learned of demonic possession. Christopher showed her information collected by his research and from the failed possessed girl who died. Blood sacrifice after a séance with her friends didn’t quite summon/conjure Beelzebub. Emma went over to her uncle’s to talk about it, and it seems his own influence brought about her use of the info to conjure the possession! And, even worse, Christopher decided to embark on his quest to document evidence of possession, waiting on the Devil to get stronger until he could defeat it in exorcism. All of that backfires on him! In fact in a struggle, while strangling Emma, Christopher even stabs her father who is trying to stop him from hurting her! Christopher’s behavior, misguided and foolhardy, causes all that happens…and the Devil celebrates his error. Emma has the chance to get even with Christopher, urged by the Devil to put a knife right in him. This would seem to complete his mission for her to destroy completely her family. But relenting, and turning the knife on herself, Emma sticks it to the Devil. Christopher, condemned for his actions, damns his own soul, it seems.
 









Exorcism genre fans do get a bone thrown to them. The expected white eyes, growly voice, levitation, and taunting emit from the body of Emma. Good performance from Sophie…she is put through the ringer and it is a very physical and emotionally exhaustive performance. I think the whole cast gives the film their all; I don’t recall any sleepwalking. I think there is talent involved and, much to my surprise, it is when the film goes through its checklist of exorcism clichés that the film seems to suffer. I think when watching it the hokey devil stuff, when Devil Emma is talking to Fighting Emma to do very bad things, it really goes through a rough patch. The camera work goes full tilt on the cinéma vérité stylistics to achieve a “capturing the action as if in a documentary setting” personality in the direction of the film. It isn’t over the top, necessarily, but it is also quite obvious that it’s noticeable. I think the film is at its best when Sophie shows how her Emma teeters between the girl with teenage issues and the devil possession that usurps her everyday life, ruining everything she holds dear. I think the worst scene is when Emma actually cuts herself with mirror glass and makes this elaborate pentagram on the bathroom floor to summon evil so she can be “free”. It is a rather absurdly extreme reaction to being angry with her mom for getting onto her for coming home late from her friend’s house! And the use of the Ouija board during a conjuring session follows the path of familiarity haunting Hollywood’s horror product at present. So it is a mixed bag to me. It has good and mediocre. Never does it go too far to me except for the bathroom floor bloody pentagram…that was just a bit much to me. It is shocking, though, I’ll give it that.

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Edc

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Sbut
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Hal

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Jtm 2

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Gb

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Rv1

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mh2

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z2

Hiii

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Ghspo

Ghspo
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Enl

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gm

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Cbi1

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Wsha

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Mouth3

Mouth3
In the Mouth of Madness

Fdfn2

Fdfn2
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Vyr

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Sh fr

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Vlov

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f133

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Edpos

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Ttf2

Ttf2

Jm2

Jm2
El Hombre Lobo

Psycho '60

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Kife

Kife
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Meg

Meg
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ring 2

ring 2
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poster

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exor1

exor1
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Conj

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Tz1

Tz1
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Ps56

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Hun

Hun
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Ps89

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Cof

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pcushig

pcushig

His

His

Efny

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sus

sus
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Rest in Peace, Robert Loggia

wb

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WZ

WZ

Edfen

Edfen
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h1

h1
Look behind you!

Bs

Bs
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linnea

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Amer

Amer
Taste of metal

The h gang

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Nlc

Nlc
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Hp

Hp

Smoke

Smoke
Got a smoke?

Strek

Strek
Live long and prosper

Hill

Hill

Castle

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SRW

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Frere and dummy

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Mlove

Mlove

Alone/dark

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Lips

Lips

Fhz

Fhz

Ph

Ph

Vestron

Vestron
Vintage VHS

sm 3

sm 3

Monique parent

Monique parent
Erotique in Review

Were5

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f13

f13
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Bmate

Bmate

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Ms45 w

Ms45 w

Churcvh

Churcvh
The Church 1989

Ww

Ww
The Whip and the Body 1963

Lsho

"Now, no novacaine....it dulls the senses"

--Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

Christopher Lee

Every actor has to make terrible films from time to time, but the trick is never to be terrible in them.

Vampyros lesbos

You are one of us now. The Queen of the Night will bear you up on her black wings

The Unknown 1927

No....not sick. But I have lost some flesh.

Alonzo, the Armless.

Ckvh

Ckvh

Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)

Glen: We'd like to speak to the Townsends, please.

The Butler: They are not available till after sunset.

Bw5

Bw5

Jill

Jill

Mad Love 1935

Doctor Gogol: Did you ever hear of Galatea?

Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: Gala - who? Not wanting a statue of him, are you?

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