Black levels are good with excellent shadow detail in say Laura's apartment on the bar she frequently drinks at. Shadow depth is again apparent in the barn where Father Moore tries to exorcise the demons within Emily. Black levels during these scenes are good enough but could have been that little bit inkier, that little bit deeper. By contrast some of the outdoor bleak scenes show good white levels, and only suffering because of the artificial bleakness added to the frame. The scenes of Emily's family home for instance of her sleepwalking out to the barbed wire fence show good tightly constrained whites.
Colour fidelity is excellent throughout with all colours contained in the respective borders, from the swathes of orange and green whilst Emily is at college to the dampened tones of the courtroom and Father Moore's jail time apparel. Skin tones are good, but there's a slight red push on faces during certain scenes. The colours are used well throughout the feature with the same scene shown from Emily's internal disturbed eyes and a dispassionate eye coloured differently.
The print is pristine with no marks or blemishes to be found and the encoding to disc cannot be faulted. There's a hint of subtle grain in one of the mist scenes but no noise, no blocking and no posterisation during gradients of colour. Edge enhancement is not to be seen even when some of the players of stark buildings are outlined against a coarse sky. A good enough transfer all round.
Dialogue from Laura's interviews with Father Moore and Emily's mother or the whole courtroom scenes is spot on, rooted in the centre, clear crisp and detailed. Lower tones are abundant especially when the action focuses on Emily's plight or the exorcism which follows. The LFE kicks in strongly and certainly gives you a chest thumping experience. For any horror film low bass is the order of the day and The Exorcism of Emily Rose doesn't disappoint in that area.
The frontal stage is wide indeed with Christopher Young's score separating the front speakers more than adequately. Again during moments of tension this score reverberates around the viewer as it's allowed to attack from every speaker in your system. The surrounds are not left out here either, from the score to subtle weather effects, doors banging and haunting tones adding to the whole atmosphere of the film itself. Sometimes though these discreet surround effects are a little drowned out by the bombastic nature of the bass, at times during these scenes I felt the LFE could have been toned down a notch or two.
Any good horror film worth its salt these days must make use of the surrounds to catch out the viewer, to shock them by introducing sounds they were not expecting. This film works well in that regard adding to the ambiance. A good track which suits its purposes throughout, from the quieter courtroom to the all encompassing exorcism scenes.
- Directors Commentary.
Derrickson going solo on this one which is a shame as I always find multi chat tracks by far the most entertaining. He discusses the usual from the initial storyline, how the film came to fruition, the actors, the locations; all pretty standard stuff. He discusses the balance they tried to create between horror and drama and ultimately trying to leave it up to the viewer to determine what actually went on in Anneliese's life during those last final few months.
- Genesis of the Story. - 0:19:48
Writer / Director Scott Derrickson and Writer / Producer Paul Boardman indicating how they came across the story of Anneliese Michele, how they heard a tape recording of parts of the exorcism and how they were moved by the story sufficiently enough to track down the author of the original story of events and from there take it to screen. There's a few clips from the film itself. 408i/MPG-2
- Casting the Movie. - 0:12:33
Derrickson indicating initially that he had no one in particular before the casting took place. He mentions that the casting process itself results in actors adding facets to the characters personalities and the story being the star they didn't need any big name actors. Obviously Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson are discussed and what they brought to their respective roles. Laura herself is quite frank and admits that if these films are not done correctly then they end up “god awful”. Jennifer Carpenter's casting was suggested by Laura Linney, she having worked with her before, after her suggestion Derrickson's initial choice was re-evaluated. 480i/MPEG-2
- Visual Design. - 0:18:58
A marriage of beauty and terror is what Derrickson wanted from this feature. He also discusses his love of Dario Argento the famed Italian horror director. David Brisbin, Production Designer, mentions that he wanted the narrow colour palette from some Sir Frances Bacon paintings. Colours are discussed and how they related to themes within the film. Interestingly the fact that this is contemporary and not set in the original 1976 is mentioned, the fact that it was set in today's world was because of cost. 480i/MPEG-2
- Deleted Scene. - 0:02:41
Laura in the bar drinking Martini and catching the eye of a man who she eventually takes home. It's quite a disturbing scene in its own right but adds nothing to the film as a whole and would have been regarded as a distraction if it had been left in there. You can view this with commentary or not, and Derrickson indicates it was cut for pacing reasons; perhaps so but it still feels out of synch with regard to the rest of the film. 480i/MPEG-2
Trailers for 21 and Starship Troopers 3:Marauder. 1080p/MPEG-2
All extras kicked in Thai subtitles by default so watch out for this. The commentary is a rather dry affair but one which is interesting enough if you enjoyed the main feature. The additional featurettes are enjoyable, pertinent and there's very little repetition between them all so that's not too bad. There's some information relating back to the original Anneliese Michele story and I was glad they took this story back to its roots. There's an argument here to have an additional featurette on Anneliese herself, and I wondered this for a time myself. In the end though I thought it perhaps would have been a little intrusive into her history and her current family so I was happy enough that this was not included. Not extensive by any stretch of the imagination but what's there is tightly produced.
On the whole The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a mixed bag really; it doesn't quite work as a courtroom drama and even though there are a couple of good shockers in the film it doesn't really work as an out and out horror and it's difficult to know how the director could have ended up with anything better; I believe he should have taken one tack or another and not tried to amalgamate the two. With Derrickson currently rewriting Hitchcock's The Birds and sitting in the directorial chair for the up and coming The Day the Earth Stood Still and Paradise Lost he's certainly trying to fill some rather large shoes; I hope he's up to the task.
If you're a lover of the film itself then the extras package will perhaps come up a little short for you, but then again you could always seek out the German production, Requiem, to fill in some of the blanks. The video's pretty good and never really lets the film down and good production was used to get the best out of the various locations they had access to, the audio however is quite chilling and certainly adds to the disturbing nature of some of the scenes.
Throughout this film though I kept on thinking of poor Anneliese Michele herself and at times found the film difficult to review dispassionately and I feel that most out there who know the story will feel the same. It's an over dramatisation of the actual events and at times that spoiled it for me, for those though not familiar with the real events then this might well prove a good scare for an evenings viewing and may get you thinking about the ramifications of faith and law.
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