One of the movies required for my Readings In the Genre The Haunted class for my Masters of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University is The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
One of the first things I noticed about this movie was that Erin looked at the clock at 0300. I noticed this because it seems to be a rather prominent time for hauntings and things of that nature to occur in the books and movies I’ve gone through for this class. I mentioned it to those I was watching the movie with and how it seemed to be a pattern and sure enough, Father Moore in the movie goes on to explain that 0300 is the witching hour. I’m going to paraphrase the idea I heard behind what Father Moore discussed in the movie, so please forgive me if I get it wrong. He said something about how that time in the morning is kind of a mockery of the hour of power, which is 1500 (3pm) and how it also mocks the trinity because it’s a power of three, but not in a positive way.
I guess that kind of means that if I’m ever inclined to write a story of any sort with hauntings or paranormal events that I make it a point to note the time around 0300 in the morning for things to happen. That’s not a bad thing to know as far as troupes go.
I’ve mentioned several times before how I don’t like reading the backs of books because I feel as though they give away too much of the story. I think the same goes for movies for me, as well. We started The Exorcism of Emily Rose and I was asked if I knew that this was going to be a trial movie and I said no and went on to describe how I actually didn’t know anything about this movie, other than that it was a homework assignment for this class. I really do enjoy going into books and movies with an open mind and no expectations. I think that makes it easier for me to get engrossed in the story and to experience everything from my own perspective without bias. In a lot of ways, I think that this is an important way to approach fiction, but it also means that I might miss some other references that those more familiar with the story or the background might get that I might not.
I’m not really a fan of the shaky camera style of movie-making and the times when the camera work was done like that in this movie sort of made me feel like the movie producers just didn’t have enough money to pay for real camera people, not as though I was genuinely witnessing something that was supposed to be actual amateur camera footage. It was slightly annoying, but it wasn’t severe enough to make me sick, nor to make me notice it any more than to acknowledge the slight annoyance. It’s worth noting because I seem to remember a good deal of movies in this genre working to attempt to feel like more realistic eye-witness accounts by using this kind of camera work. In some movies, it might work. In this one, it didn’t work for me to affect my emotions.
Some of the signs of possession were different here than in some of the other haunting-style books and movies I’ve seen so far. Or maybe some of them were similar, just in different ways. For instance, The Amityville Horror had the sewing room which was constantly infested with flies while The Exorcism of Emily Rose had the giant wasp nest on the front porch in the beginning. I’m not sure if there really is a correlation there or not, but it felt in The Exorcism of Emily Rose that the fact that the wasp nest was so huge that it might be relevant to hauntings and possession. So maybe there is something that relates insects or flying insects to possession? Like how Emily was going all crazy eating dead spiders and other nasty critters? I think this is something I might keep my on for my future readings and movie watchings.
Another correlation that I’m noticing is how all the really dark things tend to happen during the fall or winter. In The Exorcism of Emily Rose, the attempted exorcism takes place on All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween), The Amityville Horror lasts from December through January, and The Lovely Bones also occurs in the fall. In some ways, I can see this has a historical sense of paranormal events because humans have a history filled with myths, legends, and stories about the dark deeds that happen when darkness is more prevalent. Humans have always been solar powered and feared the darkness. Since the winter months have extended periods of darkness, it makes sense that more events would either happen during that time or that our imaginations would be more active during those times. But the other side of that could be true, as well, that the powers of darkness have more sway over our world during the fall and winter months.
I was actually a pretty solid fan of the characters in The Exorcism of Emily Rose. This is one of the few times where I feel as though the main religious character did the right thing and was actually strong enough in his faith to make a positive impact. In my opinion, most of the religious connotations in these types of stories are part of the problem as to why the powers of darkness get so much power over the humans and characters in these types of stories. And I don’t often have a positive view of lawyers in stories like this, but I actually hoped that nothing bad would happen to Erin and that she would find a way to win the case, not so she could get promoted and such but because I felt like she genuinely cared and was working towards the greater good. It’s a strange thing for me to say, but that’s how the story made me feel.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie far more than I thought I would and would probably rate it at a low three on my scale. I think it’s worth watching again, but I’m not sure I would pay full price for it.