It's unbelievable how misleading trailers for movies are sometimes. It feels like it's usually horror movies that are mostly at fault, too. If you recall the preview for "28 Days Later," it made that out to be a non-stop action flick, which it most certainly was not.
Now, it wasn't a bad movie by any stretch of the word, as is the case with "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," but it sure leads for somewhat of a disappointment at first sight.
The preview for "The Exorcism.." contained approximately 2 seconds of courtroom footage during its 2 minutes and 20 second running time. After doing a little mental math it appears to be about 1.5 percent spent in front of the judge. Now if I plug in these same times for the full-length feature it comes out to about 59 percent spent in court. It is my job and pleasure to curb this misleading rumor and set the facts straight right here.
In case you're not one of the popular kids and never got passed a note, this weekend's super hyped release of "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" is based, very loosely mind you, on the true story of a girl living in Germany in the seventies. This time, however, the story is re-imagined, placing Emily and her simple, devoutly Catholic family in a rural small town America. After successfully fending off the demons on their first go-round, Emily is too weak for the second match and becomes possessed by six, all at the same time!
As with any normal battle against possession, there is no choice but to call in the local priest and sit down to a nice evening of exorcism. And what an exorcism it was. It totally failed, Emily died and the priest, played by the gentle Tom Wilkinson, was immediately escorted to the local jail for negligence. This arrest happens at the very beginning of the flick and the story is told in flashbacks through the accounts of various witnesses on the stand and is finished off with Father Moore telling his version of this ancient roman rite in an attempt to save his booty.
Once you realize it's a story driven drama with intense character and story development, it becomes pretty darn intriguing and thought provoking. The director, Scott Derrickson, did an incredible job with the cinematographer choice, casting decisions and creepy demon dialogue.
Laura Linney takes the role of the defending lawyer battling against the you-need-to-fall-through-a-hole-in-the-ground-right-now-and-never-come-back prosecutor played by Campbell Scott. He does such a good job of being a jerk in this flick it'll make you hate him as a person. And as far as Emily goes, I'm a little worried about the actress, Jennifer Carpenter. She has to be at least a little possessed to put on such a convincing performance.
As long as you know you're in for a courtroom drama you'll be okay, and hey, there are still enough flashback possession scenes to put you in a whirl. There's one scene with Emily on the floor contorted so beyond belief it will sear a permanently wicked image into your mind. Derrickson said it best, this really is the first courtroom horror, congratulations guys, it's a pretty good one.