THE SECRETS OF EMILY BLAIR (2016) reviews and overview


The Secrets of Emily Blair – aka The Exorcism of Emily Blair – is a 2016 American horror feature film directed by Joseph P. Genier from a screenplay by Patricia Harrington. It stars Ellen Hollman, Colm Meaney and Francia Raisa.


Desperate to save his fiancee from a demon that has possessed her soul, a man turns to his longtime priest for help…


Hilariously overwrought yet amusingly entertaining, The Secrets of Emily Blair is a film that moves apace and doesn’t pause for any considered character development. In fact, it doesn’t pause to consider anything! It’s a case of let-the-possession-commence right from the start. Yet, after years of many similar possession movies in an already overcrowded sub-genre (so we know what to expect, natch), maybe that’s a blessing?

Suggestions of alcohol addiction, predatory sexual activity (advancing on her female flatmate Emily coos provocatively: “Can I sleep with you tonight?”) and bipolar behaviour are ticked but the demonic doldrums are clearly unavoidable and essential for the film to fit into its obvious thematic religious dumb-for-the-masses mode (“You’re a priest, you’re supposed to believe in this shit!”). Elsewhere, a seemingly relevant yet ultimately pointless sub-plot about a wayward violent priest goes nowhere.

Supremely silly, yet never dull (“We’re gonna make it through this, I promise you.”), this is a formulaic possession pic that’s difficult to recommend other than as an online time-waster that unashamedly flaunts its many faults. The filmmakers seemingly didn’t care. Talented actor Colm Meaney – as the exorcist suffering for his cause – presumably didn’t care, and, frankly, neither should you; simply enjoy The Secrets of Emily Blair for what it is: assembly-line horror fodder.

Adrian J Smith, MOVIES & MANIA

Other reviews:

“Everyone bends over backwards to white knight this girl and overlook the obvious signs that, demon possession or no, she’s got some issues: her physical health depends on the weather, her soul is an empty blasted heath, and she killed her mother-in-law by omission.” Rock, Paper, Hatchet

“The netherworld demon is just a guy in a baggy costume Universal Horror Nights tossed in the trash. Probably the reason he’s only filmed out of focus, with tons of “fog”. On earth, Possessed Emily ends up looking like the suburban stepsister of Enchantress. That’s not a compliment. Silly, pointless, and a waste of good talent.” Atomic Fangirl

Main cast:

  • Ellen Hollman
  • Colm Meaney – The Devil’s Hand
  • Francia Raisa
  • Adrian Paul
  • Jonathan LaPaglia
  • Da’Vine Joy Randolph
  • Larry Drake – Doctor Giggles; Darkman; Dark Night of the Scarecrow
  • Valarie Pettiford
  • Peter Macon
  • John Duff
  • Gideon Emery
  • Sherilyn Fenn – Twin Peaks; Unnatural; Raze; Bigfoot (2012); Darkness Falls; Tales from the Crypt TV series; Meridian; Zombie High
  • Will Kemp

Choice dialogue:

Emilie: “You shouldn’t be scared, you should be horrified!”

Filming locations:

Los Angeles, California

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