A young girl dies while under the care of a priest. While attending college, Emily believed she became possessed. After medicine doesn’t work, she turned to faith. The priest is now on trial for her death. He is represented by a driven lawyer who does not believe in God. This is the story of Emily Rose, told by those in the trial and the priest who watched her through her possession.
I saw this with no idea what to expect. The trailer didn’t show much but everyone was excited about. I, being the ever pessimistic viewer with low expectations, didn’t expect much. I went into it without expectations and finished it bored into unconsciousness and asking myself, “Where’s the exorcist part? Did I miss it??” I didn’t like this film too much.
First off, this takes place 90% in a courtroom. It should be renamed “The Trial of Father Moore” because it’s mostly about his being accused of not protecting Emily with doctor-prescribed medications and relying on religious beliefs and an exorcism.
This isn’t really horror. It’s more investigatory in nature with a few flashbacks of Emily’s ordeal but the longest being the night of her exorcism and death. And even this is only about five to ten minutes. This is done in an incohesive fashion, skipping around a bit and going back to the courtroom several times. I despise this back and forth filmmaking because it weakens the effect of each part. I’d prefer telling most of Emily’s story in one longer piece.
Now, if you expect it to be like “The Exorcist”, forget this film. We don’t get to see the horrible violence or the images and scenes like that of “The Exorcist”. There’s no head twists, no pea soup, no creepy eyes, nothing. We just see Emily jumping around on her bed, yelling and speaking Latin. Not very scary. Normally, demonic possessions creeps me out but, here, the Perry Mason bit kept detracting from the exorcism. Courtroom, John Grisham fans might enjoy this more.
On to what we really do see, It is pretty good, sad drama which touches on the human side and social impact of things. The just of the story revolves around Father Moore and the strength of Emily’s and his own religious beliefs. The two shared a great closeness of friendship as she endured her possession over time. He stayed with her throughout her painful time until the end. He witnessed it all and never left her side.
The court blames Emily’s death on the fact that Father Moore allowed Emily to stop taking her epilepsy medications because they believed it was a possession and not epilepsy. After Emily’s death, the Church wanted to distance itself from the case as best it could while giving Father Moore a chance with a great lawyer with Erin Bruner. She was expected to end it quickly to protect the Church’s image. But Father Moore is adamant about just telling the truth as it happened so the world hears it. He even turns down a plea bargain. At first Erin think it a bad idea because she’s a non-believer but, as the trial goes on, strange occurrences cause her to fully support Moore. The Church and Erin’s law firm are about to explode.
So the film revolves around Father Moore’s firmness in his beliefs, convictions and his integrity. He chose to do what he had to without faltering. This is the basis of the film and a pretty good moral lesson to us. But it’s NOT horror. If you expect pure horror, skip this. If you like the religious aspect, from God’s side, of exorcisms, this is great. It provides a possible explanation of why God allows horrible things to take place to good people.
The ending is abrupt and anti-climactic.
The acting is good but no one stands out. Pretty evenly acted. Jennifer Carpenter had the toughest role as Emily Rose.
Not much left to say. This isn’t for everyone. I’d give it a lower rating if not for the good feelings it left me with.