My Best Friend's Exorcism: a teen exorcism on Prime Video

My Best Friend's Exorcism: a teen exorcism on Prime Video

My Best Friend's Exorcism

Can a couple of best friends still be if one is possessed by the devil? My Best Friend's Exorcism is the new Prime Video title directed by Damon Thomas in which two girls who experience the frustrations of adolescence also have to contend with another type of hell: the literal one, from which the demons who take possession of human bodies come. . A horror comedy that, however, is a little less horror and a little less comedy, but which in the teen sphere could have a lot to offer to a young audience about to enter the world of horror (cinematic, we specify).

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My Best Friend's Exorcism: The Storyline

Abby (Elsie Fisher) and Gretchen (Amiah Miller) are best friends, and are united by a relationship that could keep them closely linked even when Gretchen moves in with her parents in a other city. Before this happens, however, the girls organize a trip to a lake house with friends Glee (Cathy Ang) and Margaret (Rachel Ogechi Kanu), who are also joined by her boyfriend, Wallace (Clayton Johnson). . Under the influence of LSD procured by Wallace, Abby and Gretchen go deeper into the woods, inside an abandoned house that is said to have been the scene of a satanic sacrifice. It is here that the two young women find something chilling, however, tracing what they have seen back to the effects of the hallucinogen.

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Over time, Abby must change her mind, however, when Gretchen begins to have bizarre behavior culminating in a terrifying escalation, ranging from self-harm to the attempted murder of her own friends. Something is wrong with Gretchen, who from a sweet friend of the heart has become mean and mean to Abby as well. In that house in the woods Gretchen must have come in contact with someone or something and Abby, with the help of religious fitness master Christian Lemon (Chris Lowell), is determined to go to the bottom of it to help her best friend get out. from this vortex of torment.

Lacquer, ouija and houses in the woods

On the notes of a-ha's Take on Me opens My Best Friend's Exorcism that welcomes us in these 80s , of which a revival has exploded in recent times, with poster images of Boy George, girls using hectoliters of hairspray and tests in teen magazines. The welcome is convincing, as is the general atmosphere that permeates Damon Thomas' film based on the Grady Hendrix novel of the same name. The retro trend initiated with skill and mastery by Stranger Things in the serial field has found fertile ground in the narrative of teenage mice who wink at today's adults. And it also makes itself felt discreetly in My Best Friend's Exorcism with fresh and colorful photography and a rather valid use of costumes and sets, although we are far from the realism of the Duffer Brothers production. The concept, however, is very simple and clear: we are in a well-defined period, with all its values ​​and convictions, and this is to the advantage of the authors who, in building the eighties era in which the protagonists have fallen , also adopts a cinematic language that vaguely recalls some "teen horror" of that time.

The most evident reference seems to be that of Sam Raimi's House, with a softer, more blunt and less horrifying approach, rather oriented more towards critical issues. There is a house in a wood and there is a demonic presence in it that takes possession of one of the protagonists, with disastrous results for those around it, underlining the proximity (or at least the attempt to pay homage to the supporting structure) to that film in which a young Bruce Campbell had to contend with his possessed friends. It is inevitable then that we get to the point where William Friedkin's The Exorcist also appears in this film (on the other hand the title already tells us that there will be an exorcism), even in this case, however, with visual solutions filed on the most horror.

It would seem, in short, that My Best Friend's Exorcism does not intend to go too far on the terrain of horror, which is a shame for the more adult pool of spectators who access this new Prime Video title. There is never a climax in terror, the sequences we see are enough phone calls and the clichés adopted are many and obvious, for the most experienced in the genre: an ouija board with which the demonic presence communicates to those present; an abandoned house in a forest where blasphemous acts were committed and now the home of an evil entity; the manifestation of the evil one with the visual and sound effects that years of horror cinema have abused. However, this is not necessarily an own goal for My Best Friend's Exorcism, which with its narrative and directorial choices is more suited to the shape of a possible teen reception and to the sensitivity of a generation still too young to be able to appreciate more horrifying images and suggestions. Thomas's film is therefore more in the corder of a range of teen or young adult audiences: horror, but tempered to the right point to be enjoyed even by those who do not yet have the right tools to approach the genre. In this respect, the role played by the considerations that emerge during the film is also very important, on adolescence, yes, but also on the figure of women or on American facade bigotry.

Horror comedy a chi ?

In fact, My Best Friend's Exorcism does not have the face of horror, if not as a mask, an excuse to talk about something else. Does it do it convincingly? Yes and no. Damon Thomas's film ranges through delicate themes, not without a certain amount of respect, through the language of horror which here becomes a critical note and food for thought. MBFE tells us about the lack of supportive parental figures or, in other cases, their cumbersome presence with religious values ​​that take into account more appearance than real substance (remember that the protagonists all attend a Catholic school). It then passes through the attitudes towards homosexuality, the vision of rape as a shame for the victim and not a reason for condemnation for the aggressor, the idea that the woman is a figure to be seen always and only in relation to that of man. And finally he lands in the world of "monsters" such as self-harm, eating disorders, fear of facing one's own sexuality. There is sometimes and unfortunately an emotional detachment given by the need to apply the "horror filter" to such delicate situations, but there is also a thoughtful approach in presenting them within the narrative that makes them the real causes of our horror and the which is why we keep thinking about it even after sequence changes.

Something where My Best Friend's Exorcism misses the mark is its ability to insert moments hilarious in the right place, as the horror comedy categorization with which the film is presented would like. On the comedy level, the title shows in fact a certain dryness of ideas and flashes: the moments that could snatch a half smile are quite small and written with little inventiveness. The presence of the Lemon brothers, for example, body builders with a fervent religious faith so much as to be almost preachers, could have been exploited more in giving this horror comedy its right ironic value (in the original language, the pun "exorcise "And" exercise "is already a rather brilliant idea). The occasion, however, is played badly and the bros do not provide great reasons to earn our sympathy.

On the other hand, the underlying theme that gives life to the film is noteworthy and is always constantly present in it: the determination given by friendship and the desire to pursue the good of the other at any cost, even by taking on undeserved sins or facing mortal dangers. The friendship between Abby and Gretchen is the engine that drives the entire film and the contribution made by Elsie Fisher and Amiah Miller in staging it with knowledge and determination is significant. Two young performers who, despite their age, show an excellent and convincing characterization and that we hope to see again in other productions. Overall rating: 6.

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