The Exorcism of Emily Rose

2005

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Critics Consensus

Loosely based on a true story, The Exorcism of Emily Rose mixes compelling courtroom drama with generally gore-free scares in a ho-hum take on demonic cinema.

44%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 157

60%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 376,468
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Movie Info

In an extremely rare decision, the Catholic Church officially recognized the demonic possession of a 19-year-old college freshman. A lawyer takes on a negligent homicide case involving a priest who performed the exorcism that resulted in the girl's death.

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Critic Reviews for The Exorcism of Emily Rose

All Critics (157) | Top Critics (32)

Audience Reviews for The Exorcism of Emily Rose

  • Oct 07, 2018
    Though it has some flaws, and isn't as good as the 1973 hit THE EXORCIST, nevertheless it works thanks to hair-raising scenes, an intriguing script, and a terrifying performance from Jennifer Carpenter! I loved it :D
    Serge E Super Reviewer
  • Nov 03, 2012
    Don't get too excited, boys and girls, they're not actually taking the Devil to court, though even if they did, I'd imagine this film wouldn't be quite as exciting as its concept, thanks to predictability, because if I know the justice system, the Devil may very well end up acquitted. Quite frankly, if anyone should take the Devil to court, it should probably be Campbell Scott, because if Scott, like many other actors, made the deal with the Devil that would make him a big-name talent, then the Devil breached contract, as Campbell Scott really isn't as big of a name as you would expect him to be, based on the fact that he's George C. Scott's kid, alone. I don't know, the Devil's usually a man of his evil, evil, evil word, so either this film ticked the real Prince of Darkness (Sorry, Ozzy) off or Campbell Scott is being punished because for his father's not selling his soul to modern liberalism, but either way, the fact of the matter is that Satan is being a "royal pain". See, you would get that more easily if Cambell Scott was more notorious, but hey, all of this joking aside Scott's doing alright, though he's certainly no Thom Wilkinson, who did three other films in 2005. Granted, this film and "Batman Begins" were the only things that people saw, but still, the point is that Wilkinson's big-name deal - whether it be to Satan or not - went through. Come to think of it, this film has quite a few people who made dirty deals, as cinematographer Tom Stern just had to have sold his soul to Clint Eastwood, because it does seem as though a Tom Stern-shot film can only be at its most good-looking if it's directed by good ol' Dirty Harry. That being said, this film still looks pretty good, which is fitting, as the film itself is pretty good, and yet, with all of its strengths, this film can't fully exorcise all of its faults. Certainly, the combination of a courtroom drama and exorcism thriller is highly unique, but both of this film's key genres, by their own individual rights, have been done time and again enough to show that there is only so much room for originality, and sure enough, while this film's combining two conventional genres is inventive enough to get you by, make no mistake, we're not looking at too much that we haven't already seen in another courtroom drama or exorcism horror film. The film hits twists and turns, pulling moves that you don't see coming too much, yet the film's conventionalism is intense enough for you to not feel as though you're about to witness something unexpected, as there is an air of predictability that certainly doesn't undercut the effectiveness of the film tremendously, but still proves detrimental to your engagement value. What further knocks you out the film is, of course, slowness, for although the film isn't quite as slow as I expected, things do limp out a bit quite often, even during some of the scares, for although the moments of either particular intensity or intense culmination of creepy build-up are well worth the wait, some of the more atmospheric moments drag along a bit blandly and lose steam something fierce after a while. Even more bland is, of course, the courtroom segment, or at least at times, because even with its being generally effective, the trial segment sometimes gets a touch too dry and talkative for its own good, dragging along blandly, and even repetitiously, which isn't to say that the repetition ends with the courtroom segment or, well, any other one segment of the film. With all of my going on and on about the aforementioned missteps, conventions and dry spells come and go, but what remains consistent is repetition, for although there is either enough dynamicity or directorial compensation to keep the story generally engaging, the film forces its two-hour runtime by hitting more than a few points more than a few times. The film isn't so repetitious that it drags the film to a crawl, much less down to an underwhelming state, yet it's not with either as much considerable inventiveness or as much momentum as it probably should have. Of course, in spite of the shortcomings, the film still has enough uniqueness and momentum behind it to carry it a long way as a compelling and rewarding thriller, and one with a fair bit of grit in its style. Again, this film isn't quite the visual stunner that is most of Clint Eastwood-Tom Stern collaborations, being generally kind of plain, yet when cinematographer Tom Stern truly delivers on visual style, he really hits, with cleverly bleak coloring that gives this film a kind of grit that sparks a lot of life into some of the more intense moments, which are further sparked by Christopher Young's score work, which may be a smidge too familiar as a Chris Young score, yet generally sounds as good and supplements tone as much as it usually does. The film has the look and sounds of a high-quality chiller, but when it's all said and done, it's director Scott Derrickson who really brings the tension to life, manipulating atmosphere tightly and cleverly in a fashion that may either overbear or outstay its welcome at times, but generally pulls you in, slowly but surely, during the moments that are more along the lines of simply creepy, while making the final product of the build-up sometimes tense and sometimes just plain down-right terrifying, with the big exorcism sequence that can be found toward the end particularly making sure that all of your waiting doesn't go to waste by being immensely and hauntingly intense. As horror, this film gets to be some, as put best by Richard Roeper, "very scary stuff", but really, this isn't your usual thrill ride, tackling aspects that we are not used to seeing with films of this type and hope can be done right in any film, and while such a worthy idea doesn't always work too smoothly in execution, on the whole, this film's efforts prove fruitful. Neither the courtroom side of the story nor the horror side of the story is anything terribly new, yet the combination of both courtroom and exorcism horror is, as I said earlier, certainly unique, and writers Scott Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman work to make sure that the uniqueness of this story doesn't go to waste by seamlessly and believably bonding the two genres cleverly to create intriguing and immense mystery that makes the more talkative moments generally pretty fascinating and the more dramatic moments thoroughly compelling. Derrickson and Boardman establish a worthy story, and Derrickson, as director, brings it life with inspired storytelling that doesn't dismiss all missteps, but really does keep you going, much like the onscreen performances that never fault. Leading lady Laura Linney (Ooh, just typing "l" that much tickled my tongue) engages in her layered and atmospheric portrayal of the justice-seeking woman of doubt who slowly but surely finds faith, while Tom Wilkinson charms and compels in his very human portrayal of a fearful man of the cloth who finds both his freedom and the worthy tale of a tortured spirit threatened, and Jennifer Carpenter steals the show in her portrayal of the titular Emily Rose, putting that homely face of her's (Sorry) to good use by delivering on sweeping, intense emotional range that compliments a powerfully effective and layered presence that leaves you to feel a dark force within the tainted Emily Rose character, whether she's possessed or not. Like I said, there's not as much dynamicity as there probably should be within this worthy project, yet compensation stands as firm and abundant, engrossing you time and again until you finally walk away shook up, intrigued and all around satisfied. To close this case, while the genre-bending is refreshing, both the horror and courtroom aspects collapse into enough tropes to establish a sense of predictability that, alongside the slow or dry spells, hurts the momentum of the film, though not as much as the consistent repetition that leaves the film to fall short of full potential, yet not so much as that it is rendered incapable of ultimately emerging as worthwhile, as Tom Stern delivers on gritty visual style and Christopher Young delivers on chillingly graceful score work to compliment intrigue, brought to life by as tense, if not just plain scary by the inspired atmosphere of Scott Derrickson, who also draws from the story substance to create the thorough compellingness - intensified by compelling performances from the strong primary performers - that goes into making "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" an engrossing dramatic thriller that chills, thrills and rewards. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Oct 31, 2012
    Bogged down with its courtroom drama, "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" could have used a little less talk and a little more exorcism of Emily Rose. Jennifer Carpenter pulls off the performance better than expected but overall the film offers little that we haven't seen before. Though the film often hints at expanding the demonic possession, especially with Laura Linney's nightly 3:00 wake up calls, there is nothing that ever really transpires. With constantly shifting events and no real solid story-telling, what could have been a very effective horror film somewhat drops the ball.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 10, 2012
    I found this surprisingly enjoyable. Surprising because I remember not hearing great things about this. However having looked at the cast list I'm not surprised how good this actually was. Linney and Wilkinson are excellent in this mixture of horror and courtroom drama. The 'based on a true story' element should probably be taken with a pinch of salt but at least this means that the film ends in a more realistic way and doesn't go for a shock ending. The possession scenes are suitably creepy (if a little similar to a more famous exoricism film!) and Carpenter certainly throws herself into her performance. The courtroom scenes are also top notch and the final verdict doesn't actually go where the audience expects. Probably not enough horror for most fans but if you like a creepy film with great performances you might want to check this out.
    David S Super Reviewer

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