The film tells the story of a young college woman Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter) who believes she has become possessed by demons. During the course of an exorcism she passes away and the blame is placed on the Priest (Tom Wilkinson) who was left with her care. He is charged with negligent homicide and lawyer Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) has to defend him. We find out the story during the court proceeding which takes place.
I had wanted to see this since it first came out and for some reason I never got around to it, until tonight. I do like these types of films with The Exorcist and Stigmata being personal favourites of mine, so yeah naturally this one seemed like it would be right up my alley.
For the most part I actually really liked the film, part court room drama, part horror, part religious debate, it mixed all these elements rather well I thought. If anything I think one of the only major issues I had with the film was it pushed the religious side a bit too much instead of giving us an unbiased film and probably 20mins could have been cut from it.
Performance wise, I felt everyone was rather strong. It was a bit strange seeing Tom Wilkinson portray a priest but I thought he was great casting and he worked rather well. Laura Linney makes for a good lawyer and I enjoyed her for the most part, this was a case of safe casting I felt. Jennifer Carpenter who I actually haven't seen in anything other than Dexter was actually quite affective as Emily Rose. Her 'possession' scenes were actually rather creepy and she made it work, and boy can this girl let off a good scream! I was impressed, she was really good. The other cast were also quite good, and played off each other well especially in the court room scenes.
Now the imdb plot synopsis claims this was based on a true story, as it does at the end. But this was actually based on the case of Annelise Michael from I believe the 70's, and if you read that story it is quite sad one and I thought they made a pretty good film based on that case. Something like this will no doubt give people reason to debate over whether possession is real or if she did suffer mental illnesses or epilepsy. Whilst I would have preferred the film take a more unbiased approach I did think it was a good one.