A must read, if you don't already know ...

Written by Funn Lim

"After watching this movie, I think I choose faith. Some things that can't be explained need not be explained any further by a science that does not understand it."


Image   Hosted by

Released In


Laura Linney .... Erin Bruner
Tom Wilkinson .... Father Moore
Campbell Scott .... Ethan Thomas
Jennifer Carpenter .... Emily Rose
Colm Feore .... Karl Gunderson
Joshua Close .... Jason
Kenneth Welsh .... Dr. Mueller (as Ken Welsh)
Duncan Fraser .... Dr. Cartwright
JR Bourne .... Ray
Mary Beth Hurt .... Judge Brewster
Henry Czerny .... Dr. Briggs
Shohreh Aghdashloo .... Dr. Adani

Taken from

A 19 year old girl (Jennifer Carpenter) dies under the care of her parish priest (Tom Wilkinson). While attending college, Emily believed she became possessed. After medical care ceases to work, she turned to her faith. In the care of her priest she dies and he goes on trial for her death. He is represented by a career-minded and driven lawyer (Laura Linney) who does not believe in God. Thus is the story of Emily Rose, told by those in the trial and the priest who watched her through her possession.

Discrepancies explained
This movie was based on a true story, true events and the priest was indeed prosecuted and I think convicted. So whatever I have to say after this line is as if Emily Rose is the real counterpart.Of course in real life, the priest and the parents were not given such light sentences (in fact in the movie the parents were not charged at all), the girl was German and her "possession" was for a very long period, she was well for a short period of time, more than one session was recorded on tape and more importantly it was more than one exorcism but this movie showed she went through one exorcism only. The movie made it look more upbeat in my opinion and simplified the real ordeal the girl went through.

I saw this movie today and well..kinda spooked. The Exorcist, in terms of acting and story is still the best and the most horrifying horror story that you never quite see the devil itself, and that is why it is so good. It's psychologically scary.

This movie, the stars said it tries not to take sides, being impartial. But I think the ending leans towards yes, demons do exist and Emily Rose died not of starvation and neglect BUT the demons within her caused her so. It doesn't matter what religion you may be, or whether you believe in ghosts and demons or not. I always believe if you believe in the existence of God, you must therefore believe in the existence of the demons, spirits, devil. This movie's message is quite simple; for Emilyl Rose, the fact that the demons possessed her body, reinforces her faith in the existence of God. Of course one wonders why God doesn't help poor Emily but like
the movie shows, God can't do much and to God, perhaps Emily is a publicity case; demons exist and so do I, says God.

Many skeptics, like my eldest sister believed in the Prosecutor's case, that she was epileptic (that was why she could contort herself that way), she knew loads of foreign languages (which was why she could speak in tongues), she had the ability to make full use of her second voice (everyone has that ability), she was anorexic (which was why she didn't eat but ate spiders only) and she was basically a psychotic (which was why she said she got 6 demons within her). So she was very sick, she needed a certain type of pill and she needed to be hospitalized.

The defence case was far more complex in a way; that she was possessed by demons, that she did not eat because the demons didn't allow her to eat and thus was starving her to death, that she spoke in tongues in languages she may not be that familiar with, she was deeply religious and basically she was lucid enough to refuse treatment, to agree with exorcism, to write letters and all.

One doctor was there to oversee the exorcism, her dad and boyfriend were there as well and they could not convince themselves that it was purely a medical problem. Science may try to justify each and every illness she may have had and give it a name but those who saw the severity of her condition could not convince themselves that it was NOT demonic possession.

This movie gives you two versions, although the director tends to show more on the possession side and therefore quite a biased conclusion. If you have seen this movie, and if you have seen The Exorcist and read about exorcisms, whether you're religious or not, I guess at the end of the day the defence nicely summed up the whole controversy;

"Is it a fact? I do not know, but it could be a possibility".

Some facts can't just be facts, and some unexplained facts remain a possibility and by mere fact that it is a possibility, it could be or it may not be. In the eyes of law, maybe the priest did starve that poor girl to death by not taking her to a hospital but by morality, he had tried his best to save her, advised her but she refused to eat because the demons said so and she refused exorcism because she wanted to prove by her death the very existence of God.

I think this movie in terms of technicality is very well filmed, very scary and does try to explain many questions; for one why God abandoned Emily? The question is not why Emily Rose? Why not everyone else? A doctor explained it was because some people are sensitive to such stuff. I believe Chinese may be able to accpet such explanation. Many scenes show of the spookiest period of the day is 3AM, which is the devil's way to mock God since God's holiest hour is 3PM as explained by the priest. The court case itself is not fool proof as many things was not explained not shown. But the story of Emily herself is pretty horrowing, and ultimately very sad
because whether psychotic or possessed by demons, this girl went through a whole lot of suffering and pain before her death. Can medicine help? Maybe. Was it a medical condition? Maybe. Was it demonic possession? I can't say for sure no.

Like I said before, if you believe in God, you must believe in the existence of evil and the devil. You may ask why Devil would do such a thing? Well, they have nothing better to do and so they do this to God's most beloved creature, that is us. I believe in the rationale of it.

Performance wise, impeccable. The girl who played Emily Rose must have went through hell for this role, no pun intended, the way she had to scream in terror, contorted in such ways and all. Everybody did very well in portraying their respective roles.

Story wise, it is good as it answers many question you and I will ask.

Direction wise, let's just say I am spooked and I will definitely take out my Kuan Yin statue whenever it's 3AM and I smell something burning and the doors just keep opening and closing by themselves. The point is do not ever open the door as you may be inviting them in.

Moral wise, I feel this story is depressing because only in death did Emily escape from her pain. If you believe in the medical explanation of it, one wonders how can one be so psychotic to such a point? If you believe in the possession explanation of it, one pities the state this girl had to go through but on rejoice in the fact that perhaps, faith in God may be strengthened or maybe you may disbelieve.

The point is not whether you believe or not, it is ultimately to have faith.

After watching this movie, I think I choose faith. Some things that can't be explained need not be explained any further by a science that does not understand it. Do I believe Emily Rose was possessed? It was after all based on a true story, like The Exorcist was based on a true story. I believe Emily Rose believed she was possessed, and those who have seen her believed it so and that is enough. Even the church believed she was possessed and we must remember, the Catholic church is often very slow and reluctant to sanction exorcism and the case of Emily Rose
was sanctioned by the church. Science failed her, so perhaps alternative medicine must be used to explain the unexplainable. Just because science could not explain it doesn't mean we could mock it like the prosecutor did nor should be disbelieve it because science sometimes can't explain science itself I believe.

Whatever your religious or sentiments may be, I recommend you watch this movie with an open mind and take someone with you. It can be very spooky at times.

As for the entertainment value, it is to me a good movie however much the story has been adapted for Hollywood.

Highly recommended.

Recommended Website
For more info, check out

True Facts
Based on the true story of Anneliese Michel, a young German woman who suffered the same fate as the fictional Emily Rose in the 1970s. You can find her pictures here at fotofetch and Read the facts and decide for yourself. Was she medically ill or possessed? I myself am not sure. This movie made the story much simpler, in fact over simplified after I read the info below taken from both websites.

This 'Klingenberg Case' : The Real Emily Rose
Emily Rose is actually Anneliese Michel. From her birth on the 21st of September, 1952, Anneliese Michel enjoyed the life of a normal, religiously nurtured young girl. Without warning, her life changed on a day in 1968 when she began shaking and found she was unable to control her body. She could not call out for her parents, Josef and Anna, or any of her 3 sisters. A neurologist at the Psychiatric Clinic Wurzburg diagnosed her with "Grand Mal" epilepsy. Because of the strength of the epileptic fits, and the severity of the depression that followed, Anneliese was admitted for treatment at the hospital.

Soon after the attacks began, Anneliese started seeing devilish grimaces during her daily praying. It was the fall of 1970, and while the young people of the world were enjoying the liberal freedoms of the time, Anneliese was battling with the belief that she was possessed. It seemed there was no other explanation for the appearance of devilish visions during her prayers. Voices also began following her, saying Anneliese will "stew in hell". She mentioned the "demons" to the doctors only once, explaining that they have started to give her orders. The doctors seem unable to help, and Anneliese lost hope that medicine was going to be able to cure her.

In the summer of 1973, her parents visited different pastors to request an exorcism. Their requests were rejected and they were given recommendations that the now 20 year old Anneliese should continue with medication and treatment. It was explained that the process by which the Church proves a possession (Infestatio) is strictly defined, and until all the criterium is met, a Bishop can not approve an exorcism. The requirements, to name a few, include an aversion to religious objects, speaking in a language the person has never learned, and supernatural powers.

In 1974, after supervising Anneliese for some time, Pastor Ernst Alt requested a permit to perform the exorcism from the Bishop of Wurzburg. The request was rejected, and a recommendation soon followed saying that Anneliese should live even more of a religious lifestyle in order to find peace. The attacks did not diminish, and her behavior become more erratic. At her parents house in Klingenberg, she insulted, beat, and began biting the other members of her family. She refused to eat because the demons would not allow it. Anneliese slept on the stone floor, ate spiders, flies, and coal, and even began drinking her own urine. She could be heard screaming throughout the house for hours while breaking crucifixes, destroying paintings of Jesus, and pulling apart rosaries. Anneliese began committing acts of
self-mutilation at this time, and the act of tearing off her clothes and urinating on the floor became commonplace.

After making an exact verification of the possession in September 1975, the Bishop of Wurzburg, Josef Stangl, assigned Father Arnold Renz and Pastor Ernst Alt with the order to perform "The Great Exorcism" on Anneliese Michel. The basis for this ritual was the "Rituale Romanum", which was still, at the time, a valid Cannon Law from the 17th century. It was determined that Anneliese must be saved from the possession by several demons, including Lucifer, Judas Iscariot, Nero, Cain, Hitler, and Fleischmann, a disgraced Frankish Priest from the 16th century, and some other damned souls which had manifested through her. From September '75 until July '76, one or two exorcism sessions were held each week. Anneliese's attacks were sometimes so strong that she would have to be held down by 3 men, or even
chained up. During this time, Anneliese found her life somewhat return to normal as she could again go to school, take final examinations at the Pedagogic Academy in Wurzburg, and go to church.

The attacks, however, did not stop. In fact, she would more often find herself paralyzed and falling unconscious than before. The exorcism continued over many months, always with the same prayers and incantations. Sometimes family members and visitors, like one married couple that claims to have "discovered" Anneliese, would be present during the rituals. For several weeks, Anneliese denied all food. Her knees ruptured due to the 600 genuflections she performed obsessively during the daily exorcism. Over 40 audio tapes record the process, in order to preserve the details.

The last day of the Exorcism Rite was on June 30th, 1976, and Anneliese was suffering at this point from Pneumonia. She was also totally emanciated, and running a high fever. Exhausted and unable to physically perform the genuflections herself, her parents stood in and helped carry her through the motions. "Beg for Absolution" is the last statement Anneliese made to the exorcists. To her mother, she said, "Mother, I'm afraid." Anna Michel recorded the death of her daughter on the following day, July 1st, 1976, and at noon, Pastor Ernst Alt informed the authorities in Aschaffenburg. The senior prosecutor began investigating immediately.

A short time before these final events unfolded, William Friedkin's "The Exorcist" (1974) came to the cinemas in Germany, bringing with it a wave of paranormal hysteria that flooded the nation. Psychiatrists all over Europe reported an increase of obsessive ideas among their patients. Prosecutors took more than 2 years to to take Annaliese's case to court, using that time to sort through the bizarre facts. Anneliese's parents and the two exorcists were accused of negligent homocide. The "Klingenberg Case" would be decided upon two questions: What caused the death of Anneliese Michel, and who was responsible?

According the forensic evidence, "Anneliese starved to death". Specialists claimed that if the accused would have begun with forced feeding one week before her death, Anneliese's life would have been saved. One sister told the court that Anneliese did not want to go to a mental home where she would be sedated and forced to eat. The exorcists tried to prove the presence of the demons, playing taped recordings of strange dialogues like that of two demons arguing about which one of them would have to leave Anneliese's body first. One of the demons called himself Hitler, and spoke with a Frankish accent (Hitler was born in Austria). Not one of those present during the exorcism ever had a doubt about the authenticity of the presence of these demons.

The psychiatrists, whom had been ordered to testify by the court, spoke about the "Doctrinaire Induction". They said that the priests had provided Anneliese with the contents of her psychotic behavior. Consequentially, they claimed, she later accepted her behavior as a form of demonic possession. They also offered that Anneliese's unsettled sexual development, along with her diagnosed Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, had influenced the psychosis.

The verdict was considered by many as not as harsh as they expected. Anneliese's parents, as well as the exorcists, were found guilty of manslaughter resulting from negligence and omitting first aid. They were sentenced to 6 months in jail and probation. The verdict included the opinion of the court that the accused should have helped by taking care of the medical treatment that the girl needed, but instead, their use of naive practices aggrivated Anneliese's already poor constitution.

A commission of the German Bishop-Conference later declared that Anneliese Michel was not possessed, however, this did not keep believers from supporting her struggles, and it was because so many believed in her that Anneliese's body did not find peace with death. Her corpse was exhumed eleven and a half years after her burial, only to confirm that it had not decayed as would have been expected under normal circumstances. Today, her grave remains a place of pilgrimage for rosary- praying and for those who believe that Anneliese Michel bravely fought the devil.

In 1999, Cardinal Medina Estevez presented journalists in Vatican City the new version of the "Rituale Romanum" that has been used by the Catholic Church since 1614. The updates came after more than 10 years of editing and is called "De exorcismis et supplicationibus quibusdam," otherwise known as "The exorcism for the upcoming millennium." The Pope approbated the new Exorcism Rite, which is now allowed for worldwide use. This new form of exorcism came after the German Bishop-Conference demanded to ultimately abolish the "Rituale Romun." It also came more than 20 years after Anneliese Michel had died.

Interesting Supposition
One scene in this movie had the girl's 6 demons saying "It is I who once dwell in the body of Nero" and so on and so forth. In real life, one of the demon was Hitler, in the movie, Lucifer was mentioned though I wonder was Lucifer mentioned in the Bible except for the snake? Anyway, I wonder, does it mean those who did evil things had a demon residing in them? Since they said "It is I who DWELL IN THE BODY of so and so". Can Hitler have used this defence? I think not. That is the only part of this movie I could not reconcile with my own beliefs.


Post a Comment

All replies and discussions will be posted in this review itself, so do remember to bookmark this review and check back from time to time for any replies.Thank you for your active participation.