Exorcism’s realism terrifies

Very few movies reach into the depths of one’s soul and truly shake it to the very core, leaving the viewer stricken with fear. The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a dark film that takes our fears to startling new heights and is a brilliant exercise in terror and suspense. With the recent decline in the release of horror films, viewers will be enthralled by this solid entry in a genre of films that deal with diabolical forces. The Exorcism of Emily Rose tells a story of terrifying speculation behind the death of innocent Emily. Her primary cause of death lies in the hands of a local priest, Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson), who is charged with accounts of “homicidal negligence.” During Emily’s illness, Moore persuades Emily and her family to seek help in combating her affliction through the means of the church instead of utilizing proper medical treatment. Ambitious attorney, Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) is the one chosen by the archbishop to take on the case and defend Wilkinson in court. Opposite Linney is ruthless attorney Ethan Thomas (Campbell Scott), who presses charges against Moore and vows to tear the case apart. As the story unravels, we learn more about the details concerning Emily’s death through courtroom scenes involving intense flashbacks of her possession. The plaintiff sways the jury into believing that Emily was not, in fact, possessed by demon-like forces but, rather was an innocent victim of epilepsy and psychotic behavior, suffering from violent, unexplained seizures. Erin, hot on the case, gathers essential evidence to prove that Moore is innocent by seeking potential witnesses to argue in his defense. In time, demonic forces start to appear in the presence of Erin after she is warned by Moore. While she probes deeper into the psychological layers of the trial, Erin unwillingly endangers herself, and things out of the ordinary start to occur. “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” is a briskly-paced suspense film that combines scenes of horror and courtroom sequences, which is what primarily distinguishes it from other similar films like The Omen and the original Exorcist. It is as much a horror film as it is a psychological thriller with fascinating nuances. Laura Linney, a very gifted actress with impeccable delivery skills, gives a highly potent edge to her character, and Tom Wilkinson is very credible as Father Moore. Scott also adds strength to the film’s impressive acting, which is unusual in a film that gives equal weight to horror drama and suspense. The most disturbing scene, in which Moore performs the exorcism on Emily is undoubtedly also the scariest one in the entire film. This is one of the few instances in which we see the devil manifest itself in full-blown rage in Emily’s body, causing her to speak in an obscure language. When she says, “I am Lucifer, the devil in flesh,” you’ll want to leave the theatre promptly, screaming and running up the aisles.

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