Theaters Possessed by Exorcism

Visual effects have come a long way since William Friedkin’s seminal 1973 demonic possession classic, The Exorcist, so it will be interesting to see what vfx house Captive Audience Productions adds to The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Opening nationwide today, the chiller is supposedly based on a true story of possession and exorcism documented by the Catholic Church.

The film boasts a pretty solid cast for a genre entry. The ubiquitous Laura Linney (Kinsey, Mystic River) stars as a lawyer defending a priest accused of negligent homicide when he performs a deadly exorcism on a young girl. The priest is played by the always engaging Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins, In the Bedroom), and Campbell Scott (Saint Ralph, Roger Dodger) and Colm Feore (The Chronicles of Riddick, TV’s Empire) round out the list of recognizable faces.

Following the popular trend of softening horror pics to maximize box office potential, The Exorcism of Emily Rose was given a PG-13 rating to help it compete with New Line cinema’s buddy comedy, The Man, the only other film opening in wide release this weekend. Since audiences are asked to choose between giggles and goosebumps, timing may hurt Exorcism since Halloween is still more than a month away. Plus, comedies such as The Wedding Crashers and The 40-Year-Old Virgin have been extremely strong this summer, while fright fare like The Cave and The Skeleton Key have had a harder time scaring up attendance.

Next week, moviegoers in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto will get an animated mix of comedy and horror as Tim Burton’s highly anticipated stop-motion feature, Corpse Bride, begins rolling out on the big screen. The rest of the country will get it on Sept. 23.