This film scared the bejesus out of me. Not the kind of jumping at shadows scary that fades almost as soon as the movie ends, or at the most the next day, but the deep rooted sort of fear that can wake you up weeks or even years later in the middle of the night and paralyse you in the dark in your bed.
Apparently based (loosely) on the true story of the German case of Anneliese Michel, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a curious mix of horror and court room drama. Laura Innes is the defence lawyer for Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson), the priest accused of negligence resulting in the death of Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter of Dexter). He, like her family, claim she was possessed and died during an exorcism, carried out as per her wishes. The other side argue Emily suffered from a psychological illness and wasn’t cared for properly.
Laura Innes is a sceptic. But Father Moore warns her that believer or not, evil will be watching her now that she is an instrument of good, acting against the dark forces. He also warns her that 3.00am is the typical time for such evil to occur. For whatever reason, that’s the time the barrier between our world and theirs is at its weakest. Sure enough, she starts to wake at 3.00am and senses she is not alone. (Now I am terrified of waking in the middle of the night and glimpsing 3.00am in the alarm clock).
I’m not sure why this film affected me so much. I’ve seen other possession films and never given them a second thought. But Emily Rose freaked me out. I think it’s the idea of something crawling inside my body that terrifies me. In this film, when Emily is possessed, she is not always alone. One horrifying time, she’s in her dorm room with her boyfriend who’s in the same bed as her when the demon enters her body, constricting and distorting her bones. The fact this happened with another person nearby adds to the horror. It seems if a demon is determined to possess your body, surrounding yourself with family and friends will not help you. It can claim you whenever it wants. *Shudders*.
The very fact that exorcisms take place in real life gives me goosebumps. Is possession by demons a real phenomenon? I hope I never find out. ****
Who’s seen this one? Did it scare you as badly as it did me, or am I just a wimp?