08th Jan2015

‘Exorcism’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Alex Rendall, Aisling Knight, Rick Alancroft, Sarah Akehurst, Elise Harris, Craig Daniels, Terry Felix, Lee Akehurst, Mike Bracewell, Chloe de Burgh, Tommy Carey, Robert Descartes, Kerry Holland, Simon Mathews, Dita Pesek | Written and Directed by Lance Patrick

Exorcism-cast

If there is one genre that is the most flexible when it comes to low budgets it has to be horror.  With a little imagination and a little flair with the filmmaking the movie can make an impact and actually be creepy without having to resort to overuse of special effects and badly created gore.  Exorcism is a movie that is obviously done on a low-budget, and although it offers little new to the genre and is the dreaded “found footage” it actually manages to be a creepy and fun horror experience.

Set in a house where an exorcism was said to have taken place fifty years ago, a group of filmmakers arrive to film scenes for their new movie.  With a documenter collecting behind the scenes footage with a handheld camera they begin to film, trying to ignore the strange noises and weirdness taking place inside the house.  It’s not long though before things get out of control and the evil forces lying dormant are awakened.

While there was a time that I hated to find that a movie was “found footage” I’ve come to be more tolerant of the filming style, as long as I can buy into just why the camera is being used the way it is and there is a reason for them to keep on filming the way they do.  With a natural feel to the acting, the group of “filmmakers” we are introduced to are a mixture of the usual assholes and likable people that we as the audience can often relate to.  The fact we are given time to decide if we like them or not and each characters are giving at least some minimal background is a nice move as it makes the scenario becomes believable before it becomes fantastical.

When watching Exorcism I do find myself feeling I should recommend watching the film with headphones (as I did) as a lot of what makes the film creepier is the sound effects used.  With constant whispering of chants and demonic noises this adds to the atmosphere, though there are moments when it does feel the sound mixture went a little overboard.  The fact that Exorcism doesn’t focus on action though means that the sound is important and does become more of a highlight of the experience, rather than what we see on the screen.  Some of the weaknesses are shown when the actors move more into physical action though action with one notable scene pulling my attention away from the atmosphere of the film because it felt just a little too badly performed.  This was disappointing but easy to get past.

These scenes thankfully don’t occur too often, and things get back on course so that the story can continue.  I do have to note that the story isn’t really going to offer any surprises to the seasoned horror fan, and is very trope heavy.  The important thing though is that the movie remains fun, especially as it works off the tropes that we know so well.  There are elements of the film that are very reminiscent of movies like Blair Witch Project, The Exorcist and even [REC] and it’s obvious that Lance Patrick the director is taking inspiration from these sources (which is a good thing).  Instead of feeling like just another rip off though there is more of a feeling that the good source material have created inspiration that really works for the film itself.  Performances by Alex Rendall, Lee Akehurst go a long way to the natural and “real” feel of the film, but Aisling Knight as Ash for me stands out for her performance that keeps the audience’s attention.

Exorcism is one of those found footage films that works because it manages to get a hook into the audience by giving a reason for the found footage style, and actually having likeable characters that do seem to be relatable to the audience.  Obviously made on a low-budget, it may be far from perfect and mistakes are on the screen and obvious to see, the most important thing is that it still manages to be fun and holds the audience’s attention and sometimes that can be the most important thing about horror.

***½  3.5/5

Exorcism is released in the UK on DVD on January 12th, courtesy of 101 Films.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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