Chronicles Of An Exorcism

"Bad"

Chronicles Of An Exorcism Review


As a so-called novel filmmaking device, the "found footage" approach of first person POV storytelling has just about run its course. Frankly, The Blair Witch Project almost concurrently begat and destroyed the genre in one overly hyped swoop. Yet, in the last year, Cloverfield and the equally effective George Romero zombie stomp, Diary of the Dead, utilized the concept to great effect. Now comes the ultra-low-budget bungle Chronicles of an Exorcism. Using the standard "is it real" title crawl, what we have here is an attempt to turn demon possession into a riveting, realistic experience. It doesn't work.

When amateur videographers Lee (Rob Kahn) and Ross (co-writer David Michael Ross) show up at a remote North Carolina cabin, they are greeted by the man who hired them, local preacher Pastor Billy (Ray Keziah). Soon, they are introduced to Fathers Lucas (director/co-writer Nick G. Miller) and Michael (co-writer Matthew Ashford). Seems the church has authorized these professional exorcists to investigate the case of Tina (Dara Wedel), a young girl supposedly under the influence of the devil. As the filmmakers fire up their cameras, the priests go about their business. Over the course of three days, they all learn how deceptive -- and deadly -- the minions of Hell can truly be...and it's all captured live, as it happens.

Perfectly defining the oft-used critical complaint of a missed opportunity, Chronicles of an Exorcism is a good idea badly, badly executed. In general, there is something intriguing about presenting the mysteries of the Catholics' most controversial ritual in an upfront, authentic manner. While no one expects an Exorcist like success, there are a lot of possibilities here. Sadly, the screenwriting trio of Ross, Ashford, and Miller explore none of them, instead opting for a dialogue-heavy trip through Demonology 101. Brandishing crosses and collars, and quoting the most random passages from equally obscure Bible vulgates, our pro-active priests are all responsorial and no realism. Desperate to paint themselves as God's warriors on Earth, Ashford and Miller are all angst-driven assertions and endless "private" consultations.

Not that they have much to offer in the action department either. Clearly hampered by a limited budget, the "effects" in Chronicles of an Exorcism are of the contact lens/electronically altered speech variety. Tina resembles a young lady withdrawing from heroin more than a victim of Satan's wrath, and when required to bring on the Beelzebub, her dainty little voice carries no authority. The rest of the time, she merely struggles in her dirty bed sheets. Among the flailing performers, Wedel's turn as the victim isn't bad, even if she's basically required to channel Linda Blair via Jamie Pressly. No, her Tina makes the mannered theatrics of Ashford and Miller seem sedate -- and she's supposedly got unholy imps running all through her.

When combined with the lack of atmosphere, the unexplored subplots stuck haphazardly into the script, the last act denouement which plays out like a lame game of Hangman, and the overall feeling of aimlessness, Chronicles of an Exorcism cries out to be criticized. It's a generally intriguing idea -- capturing the climatic battle of Good vs. Evil for the most fragile of human artifacts: the soul. And done correctly, or at the very least, with some deference to the genre elements they're employing, this could have been a nice bit of scary movie sensationalism. Instead, it barely manages a tolerable level of lameness. Sometimes, a filmmaking gimmick is just that. No matter what viewpoint you employ, this film fails in the fright category.



Chronicles Of An Exorcism

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

IMDB: 3.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Nick G. Miller

Producer: David Michael Ross, Ray W. Keziah, , John Mullis

Also starring:

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