In 1963 a young woman was possessed by a demon claiming to be the Devil, a local priest was requested by the girl’s mother to perform an Exorcism. No one knows what became of them. 50 years later a group of filmmakers attempt to recreate the Exorcism but they are not prepared for the horror they will encounter. Captured on behind the scenes camera we the audience are now able to see these disturbing and unexplained events leading to the film crew’s final hour.
There’s nothing more insulting than a dumb film thinking it’s smarter than the audience and treating them as if they can’t follow. It’s not that the audience is of lesser intelligence, it’s the film not achieving what it’ supposed to. To add insult to injury, it has to be another found footage possession film, as if we don’t have enough of those.
The time to put this gimmick to rest is long overdue, now that the bad ones are overrunning the market. I took the time to watch the film EXORCISM, despite having a few good ideas, this thing just reeks of stink and nothing can fan out the stench. It almost, kind of, sort of, starts out with a solid beginning but quickly descends into idiocy. I’m not sure what the filmmakers were thinking when they decided to insert title cards every few minutes explaining everything happening on screen. EXORCISM does everything wrong and forgets the primary goal is to scare the audience, not aggravate them.
There’s a group of young and energetic filmmakers who are ready to make the ultimate scary movie about demonic possession. First they have to get all the partying out of their system, then it will be all business. It’s a small guerilla style cast and crew who have packed their van and are heading out to make some movie magic.
The filming location is off the beaten path and they have to walk for an hour to get there. The director has everyone believe he lost the key to get in but the truth is he never had any permission to be there in the first place. As soon as they enter the house (it was host to an actual exorcism in the past) things don’t go as planned and before they know it the lead actress appears to be under the influence of an unknown force and people are being killed left and right. The camera never stops rolling and all of the horrific details are captured on video, discovered, and presented to the audience. Will anyone find a way out of the house or are the evil forces within far too strong to leave survivors?
Sadly, EXORCISM fails to offer up anything new to the audience. It never once tries to break the mold and even with its ridiculously short runtime, it takes far too long to get anywhere. Once we move into the final act, there are a few neat ideas but the effort is too little too late. One has to wonder if things didn’t turn out the way the filmmakers had hoped and that is the reason why there was such an abundance of title cards. They warn us about dabbling in the black arts, they let us know when time passes (like when it’s “just over an hour later”), and just flat out give you way too much information. I can understand a few scattered throughout the film but when you have something like ten minutes of inserts and a film that only runs seventy five minutes, then you’re using them for all the wrong reasons.
There were many freshman mistakes made and EXORCISM could have benefited from another pass in the editing room. Director Lance Patrick is just getting his feet wet so he has more than enough time to rebound from this mess and try again. Even if he struck out with this one, that’s not to say he won’t nail it out of the park the next time. The found footage trend needs to take a rest and I mean like now. There really isn’t much left to say with the gimmick and should have ceased being popular years ago. EXORCISM shows promise but it just wasn’t enough to work. Maybe if those inserts were removed or edited differently it would have fared better with me. Sorry, I just can’t recommend this one. * (out of 5)