The Exorcism of Emily Rose

By Mark Ramsey | 2005/09/10

The Exorcism of Emily Rose starts off so slow, it should be placed in park and the keys given to the attendant. It’s like watching a dramatic reenactment of vacuuming.

When this movie begins, Emily is already dead. But what killed her? Was it a medical condition? Demons from Hell? Being Bobby Brown on DVD?

There are some demons attached to this movie alright, and you can find them lunching at Barney Greengrass in Beverly Hills.


We meet Laura Linney who favors movies with flashbacks because she can flash back to high hopes for her career. “I’m one mediocre thriller away from judging a reality show beside Faye Dunaway,” acknowledged a morose Linney.

We meet Emily’s mom, who has 11 cats – all of them too lazy to doctor a screenplay.

We meet Campbell Scott, a fine actor whose only talent here is keeping an apparently fake mustache perched precariously over his lip. “It makes it easy to turn up my nose at the dialogue,” Scott sniffs.

We turn back time to meet young Emily who, even at her tender college age, looks disturbingly like a man.

Or Tori Spelling.

Or a man impersonating Tori Spelling.

Emily is played by an actress who knows how to scream and contort her body. “That means her only future in Hollywood is to date Charlie Sheen,” quipped producer Brian Grazer, who didn’t even have anything to do with this movie.

Thrill! As Emily waves her hands frantically indicating either that she is possessed by demons or that Mariah Carey is reaching for a high note.

Listen! As loud noises and hissing cats substitute for genuine horror.

Cringe! As Laura Linney reflects on the demonic possession of her artistic integrity.

Cut to the exorcism, already in progress:

“What is your name, demon!?” asks Father Tom Wilkinson.

Why do priests always need to know the demon’s name? You want to exorcise it, not register it for dinnerware at Crate & Barrel!

“I am the one who dwells within!” replies the demon in Latin or Aramaic or one of those other Mel Gibson languages.

“Save your riddles for the Sunday Times crossword puzzle, Hell beast!” said Father Tom.

emilyrose_scream.jpgWhen a frantic Emily pulls out her own hair, I understood just how she felt.

Eventually we discover that six demons were in Emily’s body. Six demons?! She must be some kind of Satanic clown car! Were they all watching the game on a big-screen?

Bam! Emily dies. But not before seeking the earnest advice of an off-camera Virgin Mary. “My, you look like a man!” exclaimed the Holy Mother.

Before you know it, the exorcist is on trial and we’re watching Law & Order meets the X Files.

“There are forces surrounding this trial,” exorcist priest Tom Wilkinson warns Laura Linney. “Dark, powerful forces.”

Who knew that Satan follows American jurisprudence? Did he take the LSAT’s in college? If Lucifer really wants to tamper with the jury, why not simply offer them book deals?

Why does a demon want to possess a coed, anyway, unless that demon is Bill Maher? Assuming the point of possession is to have your evil will done, what kind of will can the average collegian have done? The will to do Tequila body shots?

Pity poor Oscar-nominated actress Shohreh Aghdashloo who testifies at the trial and appears to be reading off a TelePrompTer, or maybe I was just reading off the inside of my eyelids.

What I learned: If you smell something burning, it’s not smoke, it’s demons. Well I smell something burning and the noxious fumes are coming off the silver screen.

This is one of those movies that would be vastly improved by a couple dance numbers midstream or, dare I say it, an appearance by Pauly Shore.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose was 94 minutes – one minute longer and it would have been as old as I feel. Not surprisingly, it’s from Screen Gems, which means “skull and crossbones” in Latin or Aramaic or one of those other Mel Gibson languages.

The prosecution rests, your Honor.

Photos Copyright ©2005 Screen Gems

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