I had one hell of a time trying to figure out how to tackle this list. What exactly constitutes an exorcism movie? Do I have enough for a top ten and if so once I get beyond five do I even care about the next five? It was not an easy process, and the idea only came to me because Lionsgate will be releasing The Last Exorcism in theaters starting this Friday.
It comes down to what exactly do you consider an “Exorcism Movie”? Does it have to include an exorcist or just some sort of an exorcism? When it comes to an exorcism just what exactly does that have to include? Can only people be possessed? Do houses count? I guess we’ll see as my list walks the line between all of these questions and includes titles some of you may consider invalid…
Let’s get started and see where things take us.
|Dominion: A Prequel to The Exorcist (2005)|
|I considered Exorcist III for this spot, because much like Dominion, Exorcist III was better than its predecessor, but I felt this one was a notch above.
Dominion had a bit of a weird road to existence as this Paul Schrader prequel to the original Exorcist centering on the early days of Father Merrin (played here by Stellan Skarsgard) was never quite finished as Warner Bros. wasn’t exactly pleased with the cut and brought in Renny Harlin to pretty much reshoot the whole thing.
Harlin’s version was ultimately released in theaters as Exorcist: The Beginning in 2004 and it wasn’t very good. Schrader’s version is much darker, though it has its own problems. Many of the special effects were never quite finished and they some times came off as a bit cheesy. However, it is still a better film overall, but I think its placement here at #5 on my list pretty much goes to show just how lackluster this genre really is.
|The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)|
|The Exorcism of Emily Rose is basically a more dramatic (and better) version of The Last Exorcism. In fact, this movie is much better than The Last Exorcism and that isn’t saying much. While this is a decent exorcism movie it never feels too “fresh,” which I think is probably the reason not many of these films get made. Emily Rose, though, does have a pretty good performance from Jennifer Carpenter in her break-out role as the title character. Carpenter went on to star alongside Michael C. Hall in “Dexter” and scared audiences once again in Quarantine in 2008.
What’s even freakier than this movie is the audio from the supposed “actual” exorcism of Annelise Michel of whom the film is based on. Give it a listen below.