It’s not like we have a fixation with demonic possession and exorcism but a week after previewing Billy Friedkin’s The Exorcist up pops The Exorcism of Emily Rose and it is the film of an otherwise, quality-free day of movies on TV.
This is much more than harem scarem hocum about exorcism – which is probably why it took such a beating at the box office, the audience paid the ticket price expecting an altogether different kind of horror film.
Emily Rose charts the fallout of a failed exorcism and the ensuing court case. Tom Wilkinson plays the Catholic priest in whose care the eponymous lead (Jennifer Carpenter) died, who is charged with negligent homicide. Laura Linney is his reluctant counsel pressured into taking the case by her boss; a man more interested in protecting the interests of the diocese than the rights of his client.
The film deals with ‘possession’ and exorcism only in flashback but manages to convey the shocking nature of Emily’s attacks – and these passages are genuinely creepy. Wilkinson is excellent as the conflicted priest who refuses to accept a plea-bargain with prosecutors, so that Emily Rose’s story can be heard in court.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose – Wednesday 9.00pm on Sony Movies