Director: Manuel Carballo (2010)
Starring: Sophie Vavasseur, Tommy Bastow, Stephen Billington
Find it: IMDB, Amazon

No, I don't think 'exorcismus' is a real word either. Emma (Vavasseur) is a typical sullen, emo fifteen year old. Not only does she have to deal with the usual teenage nonsense, but it appears that she's gone and gotten herself possessed by a demon too. Her initially skeptical parents are convinced when she begins levitating around the kitchen. Emma's parents are easily forgiven though. I have a fifteen-year-old sister and she acts demonic all the time. It's very hard to tell the difference between possession and puberty. Kids, eh.

Exorcismus starts out like an episode of House, before building to a chilly, violent climax. Its midsection is where Exorcismus is at its best, carefully cranking up the tension and letting us care about Emma's family before its demolishment by demon. Even the overbearing, naggy parents prove sympathetic over time, whilst the kid playing Emma's little brother is far less irritating than most child actors. Even if the character is called 'Mark'. Yes, my biggest gripe with Exorcismus is its decision to call a child Mark. Nobody under the age of 30 is called Mark. Anytime anyone in the movie says "Mark", there's me sniggering.

Otherwise, Exorcismus is an effective, affecting slice of spooky; as sad as it is scary. You'll root for Emma to overcome her problems and hope that her family manage to survive it all. Eventually, Priest Christopher (Billington) arrives to help the family, and it's here that the movie's biggest problems begin to emerge.

Aside from some cursory exorcism scenes, the Priest and Emma/the demon's dialogue consists largely of unwieldy exposition and castoff nonsense left over from the likes of Constantine and The Rite. It's far less subtle than the preceding scenes, and heralds a messy, shouty finale overreliant on its sulky teenager and scary demon voice FX. It's still good though, and better than a great deal of most demon horror post-The Exorcist and The Omen. It's just that the low-key drama and underplayed eyelid batting tends to work better than theatrics in this case, and I didn't really feel Exorcismus needed to go down such a conventional route.

Even with its more overdone elements intact, Exorcismus is a fine horror movie. Demons be damned. Nothing is scarier than a sulky fifteen-year-old girl bedecked in a hoodie, thowing a wobbler. Except maybe for kids called 'Mark'. It's unnatural, I tells you.

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