Faith and fear both demand you believe in something you cannot see. You choose! Bob Proctor
Instead of creating a list of horror movies (which has already been done this week) I chose two films that are criminally under rated, hardly mention and should be on everyone’s list. Frailty (2002) and The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005).
Frailty is a psychological horror story of a single father’s spiritual awakening and the self righteous mission to find and kill the demons posing as humans with the help of his two sons.
Matthew McConaughey is Fenton Meiks who pays a visit to an FBI office in Texas. He has information which will lead FBI Agent Doyle to the God’s Hand Killer. Like Florida, a lot of things happen in Texas that you never hear about in the rest of the country, so it makes for a perfect setting for this story of a fictional serial killer in the early eighties.
At first, Doyle has reservations of Meiks’ story, however through the telling of his life as a child along with his younger brother Adam and their father (Bill Paxton who directs and stars in the movie), Doyle becomes convinced of the truth of Fenton’s claims.
The film is a well crafted, yet disturbing look at one man’s horrible way of corrupting and destroying innocence through faith.
Also starring Matt O’Leary as young Fenton, Jeremy Sumpter as young Adam, and Powers Boothe as Agent Doyle. Paxton is exceptional as the lead character and father of the two boys who has no first name.
Initially, this film was to be released later in the year, but then 9/11 happened and it was bumped to a later date in 2002 which killed any buzz it had going for it. That coupled with the story of a religious zealotry at the time did not do this project any favors. A shame really, since this had all the makings of critical acclaim that would carry it into everyone’s list.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a horror film and courtroom drama in one. The movie begins at the end: Emily is found dead by the police after the exorcism performed by Father Richard Moore has gone horribly wrong and he is charged with her murder.
Erin Bruner is hired by The Archdiocese to help Fr. Moore take a guilty plea in order to bring the whole scandalized mess to a quick end. But Fr. Moore chooses to take the stand in his defense, not plead innocent but to explain the reason for the exorcism and what Emily Rose’s role in the ordeal truly was.
Through the trial, an account of Emily’s decent into possession is presented by Bruner. But the prosecutor in the case, Ethan Thomas, a no nonsense man of Mormon faith who views Father Moore’s actions and that of the Catholic church as arcane and destructive for those seeking salvation on earth from their troubled mind and soul.
The film posits the question of faith and how it can come in different forms to those willing and with love accept the embrace of the word of God.
Starring Laura Linney as Erin Bruner, Tom Wilkinson as Father Moore, Campbell Scott as Ethan Thomas, and Jennifer Carpenter as Emily Rose.
Based on true events of Annaeliese Michel, the real life girl who went through this experience and consequently was killed during the coarse of an exorcism performed by her parents and two priests.
Once again, a film hurt by the time of its release. Had it premiered in more recent times, sandwiched between The Conjuring and other Exorcist-like movies, not to mention the t.v. series The Exorcism of Emily Rose would have been successful. It bares repeating that this not just a possessed girl movie, the courtroom trial aspect helped create a unique story.
And always remember...