PLOT: An exorcist and his granddaughter travel through Barcelona performing exorcisms on those in need. Yet as they do, something mysterious seems to be arriving in the wake of “the Resurrection.”
REVIEW: From a vaguely haunting first scene and promising opening twenty minutes, ASMODEXIA attempts to create something unique in the familiar world of cinematic exorcism. Soon however, this Spanish language horror feature from director Marc Carreté is far too convoluted and dull to feature any real thrills or chills. A few intriguing ideas are brought up throughout, but none of them are explored with any real depth or insight.
ASMODEXIA is the story of a traveling exorcist named Eloy (Lluís Marco) and his granddaughter Alba (played by Clàudia Pons). The two make their way across several households in Barcelona performing exorcisms to those in need. Later on, we learn that each of the victims possessed share a connection with the exorcist. Their stories chaotically tie together along with a mental hospital which is seeing a rise in demonic possession for its patients. All the while we are reminded of a countdown to “the Resurrection” which is only five days away and counting.
One of the most important aspects of any exorcism film is the act itself. And while there are many on display here, they are uninspired aside from the ghastly first scene in the film. With both Eloy and Alba discussing all things evil and good on their journey with some beautiful scenery behind them, we really have very little idea of whom (or why) the poor souls are being taken over until near the end. The puzzle is so awkwardly solved that it is hard to feel any fear or genuine interest in them. While hints are given of how they relate to each other, it is not enough to create a deep enough sense of dread, horror or suspense.
There are moments of beauty thanks to a couple of gorgeous shots – the rich landscape helps. There are sequences where ASMODEXIA plays out like a Terrence Malick-esque horror film. One scene early on finds both Eloy and Alba discussing her name and its meaning. There is an innocent childlike quality to it, helped by the striking camera work from cinematographer Xavi Garriga.
Credit must be given to this strange little film as it offers a different approach to this religious subject. The performances are all good, yet they are so vaguely drawn you hardly get any real sense of the characters. This may simply be to help create a mysterious twist ending, one that is not all that hard to figure out. It may be slightly better than you’d expect from a religious themed genre flick, but not one that is worth more than a rental.