Back when I was in highschool all the girls knew to stay away from a certain guy. We’ll call him Kevin for the purpose of this installment of Nefarious Reviews. The girls didn’t avoid Kevin because he was a dick, or violent, or unattractive. On the contrary, he was actually an incredibly cool guy and many of the girls found him really attractive. No, the reason they knew to steer clear of him was the fact that he was known to have an STD, probably an unfortunate gift for being so attractive. That, and for not putting a tentacle tarp on his tiny Cthulhu, know’m sayin’? When discussing this illfated playboy, I’ll never forget the words of a close friend of mine, “Kevin ruins chicks for all other guys to come”. This is how I feel about William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973). The first time I saw it, it was horrifically mind blowing, however, it partially ruined me for any exorcism/possession flick henceforth. Enter Exorcismus (2010).
This Spanish/British cross-cultural romp directed by Manuel Carballo takes you through the teenage angst of Emma Evans (Sophie Vavasseur). When playing with a Ouija board produces less than thrilling results, what other choice does a teen have but to up the paranormal ante in hopes to add some spice to her bland British life? I’d be assuming the mantle of Captain Obvious if I said that what transpired next was definitely not what Emma was hoping for. Emma’s mystical dabbling turns her into a fleshy welcome mat for the diabolically demonic. The only soul she has left to turn to is her ex-communicated Catholic priest, Uncle Christopher (Steven Billington). And as Emma will soon find out, ol’ Uncle Chris happens to know a thing or two about throwing down with demons.
Exorcismus was definitely a surprise for my skepictal eyes. Don’t get me wrong, The Exorcist still is, and probably always will be, the reigning champion of possession flicks. However, the plot for Exorcismus is its own unique brand of head-fuckery. I would have to say that the tone is much more “cerebral creep factor” than an out-and-out “fright fest”. The acting is well above decent with only a handful of cheesy line deliveries here and there. The makeup special effects, however, leave much to be desired. At times I couldn’t tell if Emma was in full blown possession mode or if she had just come back home from some mascara streaked, emo cry fest. All in all, it didn’t detract from the overall performance. I’d recommend Exorcismus if you want to watch a fresh take on the age old possession flick. Oh, and Doug Bradley (Pinhead from the Hellraiser series) is in it. Doug fuckin’ Bradley, the man himself. Do yourself a favor, don’t compare it to The Exorcist. Consider The Exorcist as the girl you fell in love with years ago that ended up leaving you. No matter how hard you try, you’re never going to be able to replace her with another girl. And in many ways, you shouldn’t even try to. It leaves you open to meet others that you never knew were out there.