Fernanda Andrade is a Yank abroad (Or is that a Yank broad? Get it? Thank You, I’m here all week) in Rome followed by a documentary crew, in an attempt to understand what happened to her mother (Suzan Crowley- Does that make her Mrs. Crowley? Oh come on, I’m hilarious!), who is currently holed up in an insane asylum after an apparently botched exorcism resulted in her killing three clergymen several years ago. Oopsy, that’s a bit of a pickle, isn’t it? The doctors say she’s mentally ill, but Andrade also talks to two young, rogue priests (the fantastically named Simon Quaterman and Evan Helmuth) who believe many cases of supposed mental illness are really something far more demonic in nature. Thus, Andrade decides another exorcism on her mother is in order, but things don’t quite go according to plan. Funny that.
A sort-of mixture of “The Last Exorcism” and the paranormal flick “The Entity”, this film from director/co-writer William Brent Bell isn’t bad at all, if not up to the standard of those two aforementioned films, and it’s certainly no “Exorcist”.
I will admit that the faux-documentary style is a bit hit-and-miss here; Unlike “Apollo 18”, the principal actors aren’t blatantly recognisable to me (and only Suzan Crowley is a bit too ‘actory’), but the camerawork by Gonzalo Amat is perhaps too good to be credible for a supposedly low-budget ‘documentary’, shattering the illusion a little bit for me. That said, for what is not a terribly eventful film per se (it’s actually more ‘faux doco’ than horror or ‘found footage’ film), it’s never dull, and although I should’ve guessed where it was going, I have to confess that I did not. That doesn’t happen too often these days, so full credit there.
Fernanda Andrade is pretty good in the lead and quite likeable, if not quite as charming as the lead actress from “[REC]”. I’m also convinced that one possessed girl was played by a contortionist, because your joints just aren’t meant to do what this girl’s joints do. Wow. She’s a human pretzel.
The film goes all-out towards the end and is quite gory, but the ending itself is a real letdown. A film about possession shouldn’t end in such a mundane, everyday fashion if you ask me. What a shame, it pretty much had me until then. It’s not bad, and certainly better than the bigger-budgeted possession flick “The Rite”, not to mention Bell’s disappointing previous “Stay Alive”. I have absolutely no idea why the word on this film has been so incredibly unkind. It’s watchable schlock, what are you all complaining about?
Don’t go in expecting something on the level of “The Exorcist” and you shouldn’t have much to complain about. It’s OK and much more preferable than most of the teen-oriented garbage the horror genre is still saturated with.