OBSESSIVE NOTE: Mike is the biggest Horror movie fan I know. His approach to Shocktober this year is more laid back than it has been in years passed. It should be, considering he’s getting married next weekend. Despite his extremely busy schedule, he has agreed to share his Shocktober 2013 experience with all of us. Here is the first installment of Mike’s Shocktober Journal entries. You can find Mike on Twitter @IAmMikeWhite and hear him on The Obsessive Viewer Podcast!
– Matt (The Obsessive Viewer)
In years passed, the kickoff movie for Shocktober used to have to a classic. It’s the second most important movie of the year (second, of course, to the movie on Halloween itself.) This year, I gave my fiancée a short list of movies from which to pick, so we could watch it together. She picked The Exorcism of Emily Rose. I was alright with that.
I first saw Emily Rose during its initial theatrical run. It was one of the first movies I watched in Evansville as a college freshman, and I remember enjoying it. I also remember being slightly scared. Back then, my horror tastes were not quite refined, and I was still a little sensitive to terror.
My Shocktober kickoff this year was not the same. Emily Rose has a few well crafted chilling moments. Two in particular come to mind, and both involve impressive performances by Jennifer Carpenter as the titular Emily Rose. The first happens shortly after Emily becomes possessed, and she wanders around her college campus looking for help. Every time she comes across another person, their faces contort into demonic expressions. Her brief stroll ends in a church where she winds up bending over backwards. The second effective scene is the climax of Emily’s story (more on that later.) In this scene, the priest, Father Moore, played by Tom Wilkinson, attempts to exorcise the demon inhabiting Emily’s body. We find that she is actually possessed by six demons including none other than Lucifer himself. Carpenter’s performance here is really quite impressive. The affectation on her voice adds to the terror of the scene, but the way she contorts her extremities and face into haunting expressions is particularly noteworthy. The scene works in a way that several exorcism scenes don’t. The possessed never react this well.
The problem with Emily Rose is that the bulk of the movie is a courtroom drama. Attorney Erin Bruner, overacted by Laura Linney, is tasked with defending Wilkinson’s Father Moore who has been accused of negligent homicide in the death of Emily Rose. Possession movies, without exception, don’t scare me. I’m not a believer of the paranormal, and it’s hard for me to reconcile what I understand to be true with what these movies purport to be so. I struggled to sympathize with Father Moore and Erin Bruner, because I would have sided with the prosecution. Linney as Bruner, in the main climax of the movie, asks the jury, and us, to believe that what happened to Emily Rose is possible. The acting here is disappointingly self righteous for Linney, who I think is a great actress otherwise, but more than anything, I can’t buy into her premise. While I agree that Father Moore was doing what he thought was best for Emily in her situation, I don’t think we can forgive him on the basis of belief. The scenes are a stretch to believe, and can get boring.
I think many people would disagree with me. The movie has some effective scares, and I think the movie received favorable reviews upon release. I’m pretty sure it’s because so many people buy into that silly first line of the movie: “Based on a true story.” – Whatever.
OBSESSIVE NOTE: Shocktober on The Obsessive Viewer is all about feedback and reader interaction! We want to hear your thoughts, your opinions and your counter-arguments as we share our Shocktober 2013 experience! Having said that, all feedback and wedding gifts for Mike can be left in the comments below or directed at his Twitter feed @IAmMikeWhite! You can also hear him on The Obsessive Viewer Podcast.
– Matt (The Obsessive Viewer)