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Exorcism begins and ends with full frontal female nudity. In between is the story of Leila, a rich girl who falls in with the wrong crowd of demon worshiping, acid tripping hippies, and ends up on the host side of a full-fledged demonic possession.
In an attempt to convince Leila to stop seeing her degenerate boyfriend, her older brother summons Father Dunning (Paul Naschy), the local Anglican priest/private school teacher/demon expert. What begins as spiritual counseling soon becomes a murder mystery, as both Leila’s brother and boyfriend are found dead with their heads twisted 180 degrees. The police catch the killer, but Father Dunning must confront the demon who is using Leila to control an entire cult of drugged-out potential murderers.
When I was handed this DVD, I was certain I would be watching a blatant plagiarism of The Exorcist. In fact, Exorcism was made in 1974, one year after The Exorcist, and judging by the stage makeup, I’m pretty sure the same demon that possessed young Regan MacNeil found its way across the Atlantic and into Leila. Other than that marked similarity, Exorcism enjoys a unique plot, full of attempted social commentary on wealth, familial dysfunction and the dangers of youth rebellion. Whether or not that commentary survives the translation into the modern American social landscape is a completely different matter.
The overall quality of the film is actually pretty good, and the digital remastering on this DVD is exceptional. When watching foreign films, I usually enjoy the authenticity of the original language with English subtitles, but with Exorcism I decided to switch to the English dubbed track about halfway through and was not disappointed. I actually preferred the dubbed track on this one. I think it may be that the voice acting on the English dubbed track is superior to that of the actual Spanish actors.
The story is pretty weak, however, as are the characters. I found it difficult to care about Leila. Unlike The Exorcist, where we begin by seeing Regan as an innocent little girl, we never see Leila before the possession. For all I know, she was a spoiled little rich brat before, and now she’s just an ugly spoiled little rich brat. Maybe this was intentional, but there wasn’t a likable character in Leila’s entire family. Father Dunning, the film’s hero, even comes off as kind of a dick.
I kept waiting for this movie to go somewhere that wasn’t completely predictable, but it just never took that turn. Did I mention the full frontal nudity?
Added: Monday, November 05, 2007
Related Link: Deimos Entertainment - Exorcism[ Did you find this review helpful? Yes No ]
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