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The Exorcism of Emily Rose Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Derrickson's characters are reduced to ciphers in a theological debate. Long wedges of the film are simply a discussion about the relative merits of science and superstition. Carpenter, as the sick girl, puts in the best performance.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Fashioning a hybrid of a courtroom drama and a horror film that is suspenseful and scary requires a clear vision and directorial finesse. Rose lacks both. But the performances are topnotch.

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  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Part "Law & Order," part "The Omen," the movie doesn't trust the audience to follow serious theological and legal discussion without a spook hook.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Somehow the movie really never takes off into the riveting fascination we expect in the opening scenes. Maybe it cannot; maybe it is too faithful to the issues it raises to exploit them.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 14+

A priest is on trial following a deadly exorcism.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the movie, despite its PG-13 rating, includes gruesome imagery, sound effects, and especially explicit references to demonic possession, animalistic behavior, self-inflicted violence, and of course, questions concerning religious faith and skepticism. The material is somewhat complex, in other words, and may be troubling and even harrowing for younger viewers. The film opens with screams on a black screen, indicating her death, then cuts to her family's reactions, inside their farmhouse; it goes on to show still shots of the dead girl (emaciated, bruised, and wounded), scary scenes of her possession (body contorted, guttural sounds and screaming, fast cuts and dark rain/shadows), and standard horror movie scenes of characters walking down dark hallways, running in the rain, hearing sounds and seeing shadows, and seeing their clocks all show 3am (a witching hour explained in the film). A character is violently struck and killed by a car, characters drink, smoke, and use occasional, mild, harsh language.

  • Families can talk about the film's opposition of faith and science in the question of Emily's death. How does each approach fall short of explaining what has happened to her while also providing reassuring structure/resolution for those espousing these views? What is the effect of representing the case as a courtroom drama? How do Emily's visions or dreams become code for what's "real" and also for possible hallucination? How does the film combine subjective and so-called objective accounts of the events? How is Emily's family portrayed, as subordinate characters to the lawyers?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Satan possesses a 19-year-old girl.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Some fighting when Emily is possessed, her body undergoes repeated contortions and abuses.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Some twisty body images during possession, not specifically sexual, but alarming.

  • language false3

    Language: Anxious uses of "God," "hell," and "son of a bitch."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The lawyers (including Erin) meet several times in a bar, where we see drinking (Erin especially) and smoking; Emily is put on medication.