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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

La posesion de Emma Evans (2010) - Horror Exorcism

La posesion de Emma Evans (2010) - I saw this movie as Exorcismus on the On Demand feature of my cable box, as part of the IFC at Midnight series. It is a lower budget exorcism tale with a twist. Writer David Munoz and Director Manuel Carballo have put together a very competent film on the devil possession theme with a compelling young protagonist and a surprising antagonist. The first twenty minutes of the film are a standard disturbed teen drama where the filmmaker leaves you wondering if the increasingly disturbing events happening to the main character Emma Evans (Sophie Vavasseur) are real or imagined. The events at first seem like a troubled girl possible having seizures, maybe doing too many drugs, but not a demon possession. Looking at the trailer on IMDB I see that the whole plot is given away on this one. It is a shame that this is the case since seeing the film before seeing the trailer I was pleasantly surprised by the plot twists. After her parents have her checked out medically it seems that thing go from bad to worse. The next couple times she has attacks Emma is more violent and when a apparent collapse turns into a freaky levitation from the floor the film shifts gears. It is no longer about a disturbed teen and much more about the possibility of a demonic possession. Now the Mom, Lucy (Jo-Anne Stockham) and father John (Richard Felix) bring into play the priest uncle Christopher (Stephen Billington) to do an exorcism. Lucy is a skeptical atheist and really feel helpless to do anything and thus goes along while John wants at least an attempt made. This is where the story sort of become the film The Exorcist. There is a back story about how Father Christopher failed at a former attempt to exorcise someone and thus was removed from his position. The girl he was working with died after the exorcism was interrupted. So you think the film is about Emma being saved and Christopher being redeemed in saving her. Since he had had so much trouble he asks and is granted permission to tape the entire event on video. Christopher's motivation seems to be also to want to prove that the exorcism is a real thing and that the first time it was because of the interruption and not his work against the devil that the girl died. There are some nice low budget effects during the multiple exorcism scenes. There is nothing really new in any of this and a horror fan will be underwhelmed at the lack of tension that we get during this part of the movie.
This film relies on the final 20 minutes to make it different from the other films that have come out in recent years. The twist surprising to me would have been pretty mundane if I had watched that trailer prior to seeing the film. Maybe not totally as there are a couple very significant revelations. It shows there is a real line between building a trailer to sell a film and building a trailer that can ruin a film by giving too much away. I would suggest NOT viewing the trailer prior to watching this film. The twist is subtle but cutting and changed the film in my mind from ho-hum to passable. No explanation here since I would say wait until you can rent this one on the cheap but do check it out.
Rating (5.5) 5.0 and up are recommended In the Zombiegrrlz system I say Rent it!

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