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Review: An Irish Exorcism

Lorraine (Aislinn Ni Uallachain) is an anthropology student finishing up her senior year. She decides to write her thesis on exorcism within the Catholic Church. While conducting interviews with various priests from the local church, she meets Father Byrne (Brian Fortune) who is currently involved in the exorcism of a 13-year-old local girl. Lorraine and her camera man Cathal (Dillon White) tag along to capture the exorcism on film but find themselves in a dangerous situation they must find their way out of.

Lorraine starts out as a skeptic, explaining away exorcisms as psychosis, Tourette’s or schizophrenia. As she meets the young girls mother and hears her story of the sudden change in her daughters personality, you can see that she begins to believe a little more. As the film progresses and the little girl, Lisa (Anna Davis), gets gradually worse, Lorraine finds herself a full-on believer in the supernatural and the existence of evil.

An Irish Exorcism is another found footage film that is supposed to take place in a world where no one else has ever looked into the explanation of exorcisms. As the viewer, we know there have been several found footage exorcism films in the past, so it is very important that those films be put out of your mind in order to fully enjoy this one.

There were a few moments in the film that I feel were wasted. One particular scene was when Father Byrne is testing Lisa by saying a prayer and sprinkling her with holy water. The scene was intense because you expect Lisa to go crazy and attack Father Byrne, especially when he gets his face awfully close to hers in order to hear her better. However, nothing happens except a few flickers of the film.

Now, the budget for this film obviously wasn’t as high as other exorcism films and therefore, they had to make do with what they had, but I think that was the perfect moment to strongly establish Lisa as demonically possessed and, instead, got a weak interpretation.

There have been some amazing exorcism themed horror films, such as The Exorcist and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and there have been some less than great ones, The Last Exorcism and The Devil Inside, but An Irish Exorcism falls somewhere in the middle. It starts out strong with a certain believability, comparable to that of The Blair Witch Project. The story is well developed, thanks to the interviews with the priests and Lisa’s mother, Maura (Elaine Hearty) but there isn’t much footage of the exorcism itself, so we get most of the information second hand.

Now, because we mostly only hear about what is happening for most of the movie, there is a lack of the development of fear, which they attempt to replace with a few moments where things move or the camera just flickers. It isn’t until the very end that things pick up. An Irish Exorcism had the potential to be truly terrifying but just sort of fell short.

This takes me back to my point that there were a few wasted moments and these are the moments that, with a little extra thought and time taken, could have drastically changed the mood and overall feeling of the film. This is not to say that there weren’t a few suspenseful moments but not enough to really give the movie that extra something to stand out.

The lack of exorcism footage gave me the impression that the film was more about how the exorcism affected the people around the possessed girl more than how it affected the girl itself, which is perfectly fine, and is something we did see, but it is tough to create a connection to characters based on their experiences with an exorcism that we never get to see.

With this being said, it wasn’t a terrible movie at all. It did keep my attention and make me want to see what the outcome was going to be. I enjoy that there was not a happy ending because we expect there to be a clean conclusion as we saw in The Exorcist. However, I really wish there was at least some footage of the exorcism to connect me with the possessed girl in order for the ending hit me a just a little bit harder.

This was director Eric Courtney’s feature film debut and for being so, it was pretty good. It is easy to see a lot of potential there. There was an excellent job with casting and camera angles and, for a small budget, some decent effects. I look forward to seeing what he produces next.

An Irish Exorcism is now available on DVD and VOD from Virgil Films.

========================================================================================================Ann Hale is the horror editor for Pop-Break.com and a senior contributing writer, reviewing horror movies and television shows. She is also the American Correspondent for Lovehorror.co.uk and writer for Geekandstuff.com. Ann attended East Carolina University, majoring in English Literature. She is a collector of Halloween (the film) memorabilia and is a self-admitted opinionated horror nerd. You can follow her, her collection and her cat, Edward Kittyhands on Twitter and Instagram @Scarletjupiter

Ann Hale
Ann Hale
Just a giant nerd in love with horror, 80's action flicks, Star Wars and Harry Potter. Hit me up on Twitter or Instagram @scarletjupiter to talk horror or just to browse the horror collection.

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