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The art-house exorcism.

  • May 14, 2011
Rating:
+3
*** out of ****

"Requiem" is a rather ingenious and intelligently plotted little drama that also doubles as some sort of horror film. It starts and ends as a drama, yet it brings out the horrors of reality and its many pleasures. In other words, the horror and the atmosphere leading to one such thing are always present, it just takes some time for them to activate. If you can wait until then, and if you are forgiving, then you may enjoy "Requiem". A film such as this can't be called "entertaining" for at least 50% of the time, but more-so interesting. It's an art film, no doubt, but it succeeds at what it does with style and wit. Many films like this one fail, but here's one that knows what it is and what it's doing.

The strength is in the central performance, which is brought to us by Sandra Hueller. This is one of those films that, for all its flashy artistry, gives me the feeling that it would be nigh nothing without that one great performance. Well, this is that performance.

Hueller plays a character so troubled by her emotional and psychological demons that she falls into a dark pit of torment and hell. This may all be a result of her epilepsy, but she suspects it may be demonic possession. So do the other devoted Christian men and woman who surround her. The focus of the story is not just this issue, but also the new doors that open up for this character. She experiences romance, happiness, and friendship while taking a College Course. But of course, there's that good old psychological distraction.

This brings us to an exorcism. The exorcism in this scene is well-done and emotional riveting, I must admit, and it's also one of the best I've seen in years. It doesn't go out with a huge "bang", and I don't suppose it will impact everyone. I'm not even sure how much it impacted me. But this scene, and this scene alone, proved that this is a real, genuine exorcism drama; and it's not faking it.

The art-house ambitions of the film are no different of that of any other art-house film, which isn't really a bad thing, considering this film knows that it is art. It's not the highest of art, and it's not perfect, but the tale it tells is worthwhile and sometimes moving. The film itself feels like one of personality. It must have been personal for the director, and the story will be personal to many, many people.

The only real problem with "Requiem", when it all boils down to the overall goodness of the film, it its appeal. There's a lot here that people could hate, while there's also plenty to like as well. Take your pick, that's really all I can advise you to do. Religious horror can be either terrifying or ridiculous, and here, it's a little bit of both. "Requiem" is no classic, and it's not a great film, but it accomplished just about everything that it possibly can. If it intends to intrigue and maybe dazzle, then it has done its job, and it has done it well.

There's potential here for the filmmakers and some of the stars. I don't think that all potential will be used, but hey: at least one movie got attention, and that movie is, of course, this one. "Requiem" is simply the kind of movie that portrays ugly and disturbingly psychological horror-events, yet it leaves you in a good mood. There aren't enough films that do that. Maybe there is a special quality to "Requiem" after all. Few films can juggle two genres with such mastery, but here's a movie that does so. If you enjoy a good drama, or a horror film, then you might want to see "Requiem". If you know why certain movies are good, certain movies are bad, and why some are just plain ugly; then maybe, just maybe, you'll love the film. There's potential for you do so, but since it is not for everyone, "Requiem" can only be recommended to the most patient and thoughtful of movie-watchers.

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May 15, 2011
This was a good movie and a very different approach to the premise of exorcism movies. My only complaint is that just when it was really getting interesting, it ended. Nice review.
 
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More Requiem reviews
review by . October 17, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
DVD
   There has been quite a good number of movies that have been inspired by the life a German- Catholic young woman named Anneliese Michel, who was believed to have been possessed by 6 or more demonic entities. More or less, folks are very familiar with Scott Derrickson‘s “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” which may be the most popular one due to Hollywood‘s marketing ability. Another film that depict her life is “Exorcism: the Possession of Gail Bowers” which …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
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It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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