THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE (2005) Reviews and overview

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‘Based on a true story’

The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a 2005 American legal drama horror feature film directed by Scott Derrickson (Deliver Us from Evil; Sinister; Hellraiser: Inferno) from a screenplay co-written with Paul Harris Boardman (Deliver Us from Evil; Urban Legends: Final Cut).

The film is loosely based on the story of Anneliese Michel and follows a self-proclaimed agnostic who acts as defense counsel (Linney) representing a parish priest (Wilkinson), accused by the state of negligent homicide after he performed an exorcism.

The film’s budget was $19.3 million and it took $144.2 million at the box office.


Main cast:

Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Campbell Scott, Colm Feore, Jennifer Carpenter, Mary Beth Hurt, Henry Czerny, Shohreh Aghdashloo.


A 19-year-old girl named Emily Rose dies, attributed to self-inflicted wounds and malnutrition. After news of it spreads across town, a Catholic priest named Father Richard Moore is arrested and sent to court. The archdiocese wishes for Father Moore to plead guilty, in order for publicity of the incident to be minimized. A lawyer named Erin Bruner is provided to Father Moore to negotiate a plea deal, but Father Moore insists on pleading not guilty. Bruner takes the case, believing it will elevate her to senior partner at her law firm. Father Moore agrees to let her defend him only if he is allowed to tell Emily’s story.

The trial begins with the calling of several medical experts by the prosecutor Ethan Thomas, and Judge Brewster presiding. One expert testifies that Emily was suffering from both epilepsy and psychosis. The defence council contests that she may have actually been possessed but Bruner explains that Emily was suffering from something that neither medicine nor psychology could explain and that Father Moore as well as her family realized this and tried to help in another way…



“Somehow the movie really never takes off into the riveting fascination we expect in the opening scenes. Maybe it cannot; maybe it is too faithful to the issues it raises to exploit them. A movie like The Exorcist is a better film because it’s a more limited one, which accepts demons and exorcists lock, stock and barrel, as its starting point. Certainly, they’re good showbiz.”

” …high-octane schlock that occasionally works your nerves, thanks to a committed performance from Jennifer Carpenter as Emily herself. Though it attempts to sell itself as a debate between law and religion, it’s clear from the first shot of Em growling Latin which side we are supposed to root for. A classy “boo!” movie for those who like their horror polite.” BBC


“It’s all generic stuff, though the dialogue is well handled by the cast and the arguments are laid out in an accessible way. (Sometimes too accessibly, with Erin repeatedly saying, “By that, you mean…”) It’s the juxtaposition of that part of the screenplay with the horror material that gives pic its special tension and flavor.” Variety

” …the film finds a way to justify its existence despite the inevitable comparisons to the classic in whose shadow it will inevitably stand, and it actually manages to work on a level very similar to The Exorcist, without being slavishly imitative. In fact, it is far more faithful to the spirit of that film than most of the Exorcist sequels have been.” Cinefantastique

Cast and characters:

Laura Linney … Erin Bruner
Tom Wilkinson … Father Moore
Campbell Scott … Ethan Thomas
Jennifer Carpenter … Emily Rose
Colm Feore … Karl Gunderson
Joshua Close … Jason
Kenneth Welsh … Dr Mueller
Duncan Fraser … Dr Cartwright
JR Bourne … Ray
Mary Beth Hurt … Judge Brewster
Henry Czerny … Dr Briggs
Shohreh Aghdashloo … Dr Adani
Steve Archer … Guy in Bar
Arlene Belcastro … Praying Woman #2
David Berner … Karl’s Crony #1
Mary Black … Dr Vogel
Julian Christopher Julian Christopher … District Attorney
Aaron Douglas … Asst. DA #1
Lorena Gale … Jury Foreman
George Gordon … Karl’s Crony #2
Iris Graham … Emily’s Sister #2
Taylor Hill … Emily’s Sister #3
Chelah Horsdal … Asst. DA #3
John Innes … University Professor
Jeff Johnson … Umbrella Guy
Michael Jonsson … Deputy #1
Katie Keating … Alice
Terence Kelly … Medical Examiner
Darrin Maharaj … On-The-Scene Reporter
Ryan McDonald … Student in Classroom
Marilyn Norry … Maria Rose
Joanna Piros … News Anchorperson
Marsha Regis … Asst. DA #2
Bobby Stewart … Bailiff
Clay St. Thomas … Reporter on TV
Cory Lee … Umbrella Girl (as Corylee Urhahn)
Liduina Vanderspek … Praying Woman #1
Andrew Wheeler … Nathaniel Rose
Ally Warren … Blond Juror (uncredited)

Technical details:

119 minutes | 122 minutes (unrated)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35: 1
Audio: Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS

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