Movie Review: The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Are my eyes deceiving me, or is this another Month of Spooks post? Well it is! And what’s the deal today then? Exorcism? Interesting, let’s go!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”.

When a priest (Tom Wilkinson) is accused of causing the death of a young woman (Jennifer Carpenter), lawyer Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) takes his case, soon finding herself diving into deeper, and more complex waters than she ever could have expected. If you read the title of this movie, you expect a straight up horror flick, right? Well, that’s not quite what we have here. “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” is actually for the most part a courtroom drama, with some flashbacks interspersed throughout that are mor horror-focused. And I personally liked the courtroom stuff quite a bit, as they provided a thematically and dramatically interesting debate on science vs. religion. But then we have the flashbacks to what happened with the character of Emily, and I kind of tuned out of those, because they leaned too much into typical horror tropes, without generating any actual scares. There’s decent atmosphere in those bits, but there’s no actual tension or terror, and I was uninterested in the storytelling in those bits. So yeah, the story here is a bit of a mixed bag.

The characters in this are all pretty interesting, and I like the way they’re used throughout the movie. Even when the storytelling loses me in those flashbacks, the characters are still decently engaging. And a lot of that comes from the spectacular cast, containing people like Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter (who steals the show), Colm Feore, Campbell Scott, Henry Czerny, and many more.

The score for the movie was composed by Christopher Young, and I think he did an alright job with it. Some of the track resonate decently, creating some good emotion. But some just feel a bit overbearing as they just try to create this droning horror-y sound. So the score can feel like a mixed bag at times, even though I can’t blame Young himself.

“The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was directed and co-written by Scott Derrickson, and I think he did a really good job with. Derrickson is a director who’s work I’ve enjoyed before, and this was his cinematic debut, so it was exciting to see where it started for him. And he definitely has a style and skill that was well beyond his years. Even though I didn’t find the horror bits scary in this, Derrickson’s direction still kept it slightly interesting.

This movie has not been super well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 44% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 46/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.7/10.

While it is a bit of a mixed bag, “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” can still be recommend for its courtroom drama and electrifying cast. The story is alright, the characters are okay, the performances are fantastic, the music is okay, and the direction is really good. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” is a 6.97/10. So while it’s very flawed, it’s still certainly worth a rental.

My review of “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” is now completed.

Your honor, I will exorcise my rights to plead the fifth.

Series Review: Fargo – Season 1 (2014)

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Anthology series, a concept I find very curious. The idea of it is really ingenius; every season features new stories and new characters which gives the writers of the shows a lot of creative freedom when it comes to the show. And it seems a lot of shows these days are embracing that style of stroytelling which makes me curious to see what the next trend in television will be.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the first season of… “Fargo”.

Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) is a mysterious drifter who one day comes into a small town in Minnesota. Early on during his time there he meets an insurance salesman named Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) and they start getting acquainted. However is seems like Malvo is influencing Lester in a pretty bad way. And by pretty bad way I mean that he influences Lester to murder someone. And from that we also follow two police officers (Colin Hanks and Allison Tolman) who are trying to solve these murders that start occuring. And with that said I will not try to explain anymore of it because that would be delving into spoiler territory and I don’t do spoilers unless there is something specific I want to talk about in something. But I have to say that I was intrigued by the plot in the show and I loved how it developed over the ten episodes that this story covers. We get some good twists and revelations throughout combined with a lot of good suspense and a surprising amount of dark humor. And that mix of things make for an interesting plot to watch unfold.

The characters in the show are all very colorful, quirky, interesting and well written. Martin Freeman nails it as Lester, out reluctant anti-hero. I say “anti-hero” because he does some shady shit and hides some bad secrets in this show. And Freeman does all of that pretty damn well. Billy Bob Thornton was great in the role as mysterious and devious Malvo. It’s so great that he still got it in him to give a great performance like this because he has kind of been off the radar for the past 10(ish) years. Colin Hanks (son of Tom Hanks) is great in the role as police officer Gus Grimly, a man who wants to solve these terrible crimes while also taking care of his daughter. Allison Tolman is amazing in the role as the determined police officer Molly Solverson. Really, she was great… someone I will keep my eye on now. Also, her dad is played by Keith Carradine and that’s just awesome. Eveyr actor does in fact do great work in this show and trust me when I sya that there are a lot of big names in here. Hell, even Key & Peele make appearances in the show (And yes, they are a bucket of fun).

The score for the show was provided by Jeff Russo and holy hell was it ever great. It was heavy and very dramatic but could also be a little lighter when it needed to be. And I have to say that the series main theme (Sidenote: The title of it is “Bemidji, MN”) is honestly one of the best main theme songs I have ever heard. It’s dramatic, it’s dark and it is just straight-up beauitful. The entire score I honestly think is nothing short of great.

Whenever I watched this show I felt cold. Not because it’s dark and depressing like “Requiem For a Dream”, but because they are in the middle of snow-covered Minnesota and it all looks very cold. Sure, it’s kind of the same weather here in Sweden atthe moment of writing this, but it still looks really cold. And I feel like the director(s?) captured it all really well. They captured everything very well because everything in this show is very well directed. Everything’s also really violent. A lot of blood and brutality is shown in the show and I kind of feel like that adds to the charm of it. But I also mention it as a fair warning if you hate violence and/or you get queasy easily… kind of like Bob Odenkirk’s character in the show. The show is also really funny in a very dark way. And I guess that is something the writers of the show did to try to capture the feel of a Coen brothers movie. And for those of you who didn’t understand that reference, this show is based on the Coen brothers movie of the same name and that’s why I said that they seemed like they tried to capture the feel of a Coen movie… A.K.A. darkly comical but still suspenseful.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes the season has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. And while imdb.com doesn’t have average scores per season, the show still has a score of 9,0/10 and is ranked #25 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

I’m not gonna lie to you guys, I was surprised by the high quality of this show. The story is great, the characters are great & the acting is great, the music is great, the directing is great and there is a lot of great humor. It’s just a great season. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for season 1 of “Fargo” is a 9,88/10. It most definitely gets the one and only “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of the first season of “Fargo” is now completed.

Oh jeez.