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The Exorcism of Emily Rose (unrated)
DVD disk
Jan 3, 2006 By: Jason Coleman
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (unrated) order
Director:
Scott Derrickson

Actors:
Laura Linney
Tom Wilkinson
Campbell Scott

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A film based on a true story about a teenage girl who believed she was possessed by demons. Her family and a local priest try to perform an exorcism and it all ends up in a courtroom battle questioning faith and belief.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Much like the character of Emily Rose herself, lovely teenage girl one minute, black eyed demon from hell the next, this film has two sides. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the problem is neither of them work. THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE doesn’t really know what kind of movie it wants to be. Is it a creepy and harrowing vision of demonic possession in the vein of THE EXORCIST? Or is it a compelling court room drama about getting to the truth behind what really happened to an innocent young woman? Well, both may sound good here, but it’s just because I have a flare for the written word. Wish I could say the same about writers Paul Boardman and writer/director Scott Derrickson, who have constructed a film so all over the place, it's as if they jigsaw pieced together a lame horror film and a drawn out legal drama. (And both are duds!)

The cast are some really top notch talents that are wasted; like Laura Linney, known for her soulful and great inner work in films like YOU CAN COUNT ON ME and THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, who tries to overcome the film's dreary moments, but to no avail. Same with Tom Wilkinson, who plays the troubled priest and Campbell Scott, who plays the attorney out to make someone pay - both are trying to give deeper meaning to these one dimensional characters. Unfortunately, when any of them start to give the film more depth than it deserves, they are upstaged by frenzied, manic, MTV style possession that turns the film into something else entirely. It’s as if Director Derrickson was auditioning for his next directing gig and wasn’t sure if it was going be a drama or a horror flick. (But he wanted to keep all bases covered!) THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE may have been based on a true story, but the real truth is that this film accomplishes something almost unheard of – it manages to be boring in not one, but two different genres at the same time.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary (with Director Scott Derrickson): Unfortunately, Director Derrickson has a very mundane and one note vocal quality. It may be great for falling asleep to, but in the commentary game, it’s not a plus. Derrickson is very detailed and articulate, but a little all over the place, as he jumps from an actor’s input to visual design. He seems to be in a world of his own, which for those who like this commentary, may be a great place to visit, but you would never want to live there.

Featurettes: Can be watched either individually or in a play all.

Genesis Of A Story (19:47): Here, Director Derrickson and Writer Boardman talk about the process of finding the story and then researching it, intercut with chunks of film footage. Basic stuff, with nothing you wouldn’t already know from watching the film itself. The real interesting parts are when leads Linney and Wilkinson talk about the film, especially when Linney talks about the two different facets of the film stating “I don’t know how it will come together”. Badly Laura, badly.

Casting The Movie (12:23): I was personally interested in this one, simply to find out how this mediocre film got such great actors. They all kind of hail the script, with Wilkinson claiming it was one of the best scripts he’d read that year. I guess in the end, a good script just isn’t enough. (But there was enough ass kissing in this one to make my lips chapped!)

Visual Design (18:57): If Director Derrickson was really a fan of the great Dario Argento, I couldn’t see a lot of it in this film. A lot of talk here about style, colors and…zones? (I didn’t get it either!) I don’t know who this was for, but it wasn’t for me!

Deleted Scene with Optional Director’s Commentary (2:41): A scene that didn’t add anything and was taken out for good reason. The best moment here is from the commentary, when Director Derrickson states that a line he wrote stinks – honesty is the best policy!

And for fans of trailers (and I mean a shit load!), there is a Trailers section featuring the films BOOGEYMAN, INTO THE BLUE, MIRRORMASK, OPEN SEASON, SUENO, THE CAVE, THE DA VINCI CODE, THE FOG, THE GOSPEL, THE GRUDGE, THE PINK PANTHER (2005), THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, and THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (2005), whew!
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
There is nothing wrong with wanting to take two different genres and marry them together into a single film. (FROM DUSK TILL DAWN did it with flying colors!) But each has to mesh with the other on some level and, above all else, they both have to be interesting. THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE is the flip side to that coin – a boring film that doesn’t know who it’s for or what it wants to be and frankly, it doesn’t care. (And neither should we!)
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