EXORCISMUS, or THE POSSESSION OF EMMA EVANS. (2010) DIRECTED BY MANUEL CARBALLO. STARRING SOPHIE VAVASSEUR, STEPHEN BILLINGTON AND DOUG BRADLEY.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
I really liked this Spanish-British horror film, which I recently watched on Shudder. It’s about a teenage girl who gets possessed by the devil (none other, lol) after messing about with a ouija board on a boozy night in with her cousins.
Emma Evans is a girl who’s probably ripe for possession. Home-schooled by her writer father on her controlling doctor mother’s orders, because home-schooled kids apparently do better in college, she feels stifled to the point of madness by her boring, academics-driven life.
Her two cousins, Alex and Rose, who conveniently live next door, are allowed to go to parties, wear tons of black goth make-up and pierce themselves stupid (and Alex is a boy!). Fifteen-year-old Emma is jealous of their more liberal lifestyles, and she desperately longs to go to secondary school like most girls her age.
Then Emma becomes possessed and starts having disgusting hallucinations, like seeing imaginary cockroaches everywhere, and levitating, and wanting to grievously hurt family members. The mother has a really narrow escape from a giant pot of boiling water, for example, which I, as a viewer, was glad of, as I’m not sure I could have watched something so gruesome…!
Luckily (or is it…?), Emma’s Uncle Christopher is a priest, and one with experience of exorcism in his background as well, although the one time he attempted it, the girl he was exorcising died and he got a big bollocking from his church.
Still, a priest is a priest, innit, and Emma’s mum and dad (dad looks like David Tennant playing Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen in the ITV television mini-series DES) call him in when it’s clear that Emma isn’t going to get better by herself.
Uncle Chris is a shady character, however, who’s harbouring a nasty secret, and Emma’s parents may live (or not) to regret entrusting their daughter’s safety, and the safety of their whole family, to a man with such a dark side to him…
The actor who plays him, Stephen Billington, used to portray Greg Kelly, one of Sally Webster’s old beaux, in CORONATION STREET, so if you think you recognise him vaguely, that might be from where.
When, as Father Chris, he puts on his little hat and takes up his little bag to go exorcising at night at his niece’s house, it’s a nod to the biggest and best exorcism film of them all, THE EXORCIST (1973), in which Father Lankester Merrin is the big gun roped in by Father Damien Karras to help free the protagonist, Regan MacNeil, from the terrible clutches of the demon Pazuzu.
PS, No-one in the movie says the immortal words ‘the power of Christ compels thee,’ which is fair enough as it would probably be total copycatting, but it’s a bit disappointing nonetheless. I love using that phrase on my kids. The power of Christ compels thee to tidy thy room/give thy mother thy last chocolate finger/take out the rubbish, etc. It’s a handy parenting tool, I find.
Anyway, the things that occur as a result of Emma’s possession by no less a personage than Old Nick himself are dramatic and horrible to witness. The girl who plays Emma does a terrific job of being both Good Emma and Evil Emma, and the film adds a touch of special magic into its mix by casting Doug Bradley, who plays Pinhead in the HELLRAISER series of films, as a priest who tries to undo Father Chris’s bad work. The Doug Bradley character’s name is Father Ennis, by the way, which, if spelled backwards, reads as Father Sinne, an apt name for a cleric…!
The film is a bit long at an hour and forty minutes, but it’s a really good watch. It even taught me a valuable lesson, which is as follows: Don’t stab yourself in the stomach if you really want to die. It doesn’t kill you, but you’ll be really, really inconvenienced and in pain and you might end up in a wheelchair. Eeuw. Lesson learned, EXORCISMUS, lesson learned…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.