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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > Thriller > Demons > Legal > Court Room > The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005/Sony Blu-ray)

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005/Sony Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: C+     Film: B



Just when the Supernatural story seemed dead and pointless, a film like The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005) comes along and shows how to do it.  For one of the few times in many, many years, it was a film good enough to make the “based on a true story” claim and the result embarrassed the two horrid Exorcist prequels Warner/Morgan Creek churned out, as well as embarrassing duds like The Skeleton Key.


Laura Linney plays attorney Erin Bruner, who must investigate the death of a well-liked teenager named Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter) who died under very mysterious circumstances.  Some thought it was abuse, others drug use and more than a few believe it was demonic possession.  Rose’s church finds themselves on trial while Erin tries to find psychological explanations in place of abuse if the abuse charges turn out not to hold.


The greatest thing about this film besides its exceptional acting is the savvy combination of a demonic possession story and courtroom drama.  To remain challenging, the film never makes easy choices or gives easy answers, yet despite this, more than a few people I spoke with in the last few years who saw the film and did not like it, simply deciding to explain it away as non-supernatural.  They all missed the point of the finer points of the film, which went right over their heads.


Instead, the film is very explicit about the demon possession, shows it very graphically and that in an unleashed form, can be deadly, undetectable and hard to confront, with the script making the church powerless to an interesting extent.  Those who missed the film’s best points should not think of it as Miracle On 34th Street with a demon either, as this is a much smarter, more mature, adult, intelligent work.  It is never condescending or pat and never forgets a human life was involved.  It is one of the best films of its kind in years and highly recommended.


The cast is also a big plus, including Tom Wilkinson in another fine performance as the priest at the center of the case, Campbell Scott, Colm Feore, Mary Beth Hurt and Henry Czerny.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image was shot in Super 35mm film by Director of Photography Tom Stern, taking a break from his DP work with Clint Eastwood.  I liked the look of the film when I first saw it in 35mm and it still looks good in this version, but a slight softness beyond any stylization is here and that holds the image back slightly throughout.  The digital effects are few and contextual.  The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 has some good, strong surround moments, but this is a quieter film with much dialogue and that is clear here, which is good, because you really have to pay attention and the DVD did not do justice to the film at all either way.  Christopher Young’s score is also a plus.


Extras include the trailer, audio commentary by Director Scott Derrickson who is either a good filmmaker or just got lucky here, deleted scenes with the option of more of his commentary and three good featurettes: Genesis Of The Story, Casting The Movie and Visual Design.  I wanted even more, but if this becomes the minor genre classic it may well become, this might not be the end of The Exorcism Of Emily Rose.  It may just be a few years ahead of a revival of the genre.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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