Devil in the details

When faith is ruled by fear
People say ‘God is dead.’ But how can they say that when I show them the devil?”

So asks Emily Rose in a note read after her death in The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Emily explains from beyond the grave that the Virgin Mary appeared to her and offered to end her demonic possession by taking her life. But Emily chose to suffer in order to show the world that demons are real—and teach us that we’d all better behave.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose has taken a beating from the critics, who denigrate it as Christian propaganda. Its clear evangelical purpose is to scare the hell out of us. The proper postmodern retort to that complaint might be, “What movie is without an element of propaganda?” Nevertheless, this movie ends up being a B-grade courtroom thriller (full of A-list actors), with some religious horror tacked on.


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