Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Devil Inside

"The Exorcist" is, unarguably, one of the greatest films of all time.

That doesn't mean that there isn't room in the world for another great possession/exorcism movie.

"The Exorcism of Emily Rose" came close.

"The Last Exorcism" blew it in the final few moments.

Here we have another attempt that, on paper, would have looked like a cracker but on film ends up being the sort of snore-fest that makes a Daniel O'Donnell concert look like the last days of Rome.

Arriving in Rome beautiful young American Isabella has come to find out the truth behind her mothers mysterious deportation from the States to a mental hospital following her brutal slaying of a nun and two priests.  What she discovers are two rogue priests who help her to see that her mother is possessed and not simply mentally ill.

There follows all the usual contemporary exorcism markers...inverted crucifix, bodies bending, twisting and contorting, spider-walks, red eyes and tortured priests.

The problem for this sort of film is that "The Exorcist" is flawless.

In the same way that all slasher flicks since "Halloween" have been increasingly ridiculous and overly reliant on torture porn tricks so the likes of "The Devil Inside" cannot best what has come before and so rely on a checklist approach to film-making that renders the final product, at best, diverting and, at worst, dreadfully dull.

The found footage stylings on show here were better deployed in "The Last Exorcism" and it's difficult not to see this as being the death rattle of that particular trick...which is a shame because, as we saw in "Blair Witch" and "Paranormal Activity" it offers the possibility of real scares and the ability to disconcert an audience.

So, I keep waiting for a new exorcism movie to rival the greatest film ever made (copyright M. Kermode!) and praying that in order to meet the desires of people like me some studio executive doesn't greenlight a remake of "The Exorcist" with Justin Bieber playing Regan.

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