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Scott Derrickson
Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Campbell Scott
Writing Credits:
Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson

A lawyer takes on a negligent homicide case involving a priest who performed an exorcism on a young girl.

Box Office:
$19 million.
Opening Weekend
$30,054,300 on 2981 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Thai Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 122 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 7/22/2008

• Audio Commentary with Director Scott Derrickson
• Deleted Scene
• “Genesis of the Story” Featurette
• “Casting the Film” Featurette
• “Visual Design” Featurette
• Previews


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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Exorcism Of Emily Rose [Blu-Ray] (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 13, 2021)

When it hit screens on September 9th, 2005’s The Exorcism of Emily Rose quickly established itself as a box office hit. The film took in $30 million during its opening weekend, a sizable amount given its low profile and the time of year in which it was released.

Studios often hold onto horror flicks until October since the “Halloween bump” seems to help. Rose bucked that trend and ended up with a pretty nifty $75 million gross.

One question remains: how would the film have done with more accurate promotion? Rose was touted to look like a traditional scarefest, but it delivered a different experience.

This appeared to cheese off audiences who expected something else. Did the ads draw more fannies into the seats – albeit fannies that soon were disenchanted – or would it have fared better with a more low-key campaign?

That I can’t answer, but I can decide whether or not I think Rose offers an effective flick. Based on a true story, college student Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter) dies during the period of an exorcism conducted by Father Richard Moore (Tom Wilkinson).

Agnostic attorney Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) accepts the case to further her career. Through the trial, we learn what happened to Emily. We also see how apparently supernatural events affect Erin.

Right off the bat, Rose came to the screen with some potential liabilities. First of all, it would inevitably be compared to The Exorcist. Arguably the greatest horror movie ever made, it makes its own sequels look bad, so it seemed likely to badly overshadow Rose.

The film’s framework also created probable problems. The movie starts with the death of its subject, so there’ll be no suspense about what happens to her.

We have to watch this all happen in flashback, which seems like a clunky way to witness events. And we’re stuck in a trial the whole time!

Horror film or courthouse drama? Miraculously, Rose pulls off both.

As I alluded earlier, the promotional campaign for the movie makes it look like a serious scarefest instead of the more cerebral investigation it offers. This bothered many who didn’t get the popcorn muncher they expected.

Frankly, I don’t understand the complaints. Sure, Rose isn’t a full-out attack on your senses, as like Dominion: The Prequel to the Exorcist, this is a more psychological affair that entertains explanations both natural and supernatural. It doesn’t go straight for the usual horror vein.

That said, it includes more than enough spooky bits to make it work as part of that genre. In fact, some of those create a minor liability, as Rose occasionally relies too much on the usual loud noises to jolt us. It might have worked better with more subtle scares.

Nonetheless, these usually succeed and don’t seem too cheesy. The courtroom setting creates an unusual way to explore this kind of tale, and a good one at that.

I like it mainly because it allows us to get both sides of the story. The medical reasoning for Emily’s woes receives a lot of attention, so although we’re clearly led to buy her demonic possession as the root cause, we hear the other viewpoint as well. This makes the movie richer and allows us to get more involved with things.

A strong cast certainly helps the movie as well. Linney, Wilkinson and supporting actor Shohreh Aghdashloo all earned Oscar nominations for other flicks, so that adds credibility to the film.

I think the best work comes from Carpenter, though. She’s forced to endure all sorts of physical transformations and machinations through the flick, and she also must play the various stages of possession.

Carpenter easily could turn these scenes into absurd bouts of campiness, but she doesn’t. We feel the character’s pain and buy the attacks of the demons on her. She provides an exceptional performance in a tough role.

I doubt The Exorcism of Emily Rose will make anyone forget The Exorcist, but no one intended for it to replace its classic predecessor. View Rose as another chapter in the demonic story. It works as both character drama and horror flick, which is no small accomplishment.

Note that this disc presents an unrated version of Rose. It runs about three minutes longer than the “PG-13” theatrical cut. Fans shouldn’t expect anything too titillating from the unrated edition.

It didn’t present nudity, profanity or graphic violence that wouldn’t have been acceptable in a “PG-13” film. It appears that most – all? – of the extra footage comes from Dr. Adani’s cross-examination. This shows up around the 61-minute mark and was cut simply for pacing, not due to graphic content.

If anything else new appears, I’m not aware of it. I hadn’t seen Rose until I got this unrated disc, and other than some information in the director’s commentary, I found no discussion of changes made to the movie.

I like the added scene and think it’s a good piece, but again, the only thing about it that makes the movie “unrated” is the fact Columbia didn’t submit this cut to the MPAA. As far as I can tell, nothing about the longer version would have changed this movie’s “PG-13” rating.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

The Exorcism of Emily Rose appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though mostly good, the image came with a few more missteps than I’d like.

Overall sharpness appeared solid. A few dimly-lit interiors could be a smidgen soft, but the majority of the film displayed nice accuracy.

Jagged edges and shimmering created no concerns, but some light edge haloes crept into the presentation at times. As for print flaws, a few small marks appeared, but the majority of the movie looked clean.

What would a modern horror film be without a stylized palette? Rose veered toward orange and teal, with some sickly greens thrown in for good measure as well. The colors fit with the movie’s tone just fine and always appeared full within its dimensions.

Blacks were fairly deep, though they could lean a little too dense at times, while the many low-light shots demonstrated largely good definition and clarity. Much of the image worked fine but the mix of minor concerns left it as a “B-“.

In addition, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Rose was positive, as the soundfield took full use of the many creepy scenes. In particular, the mix came to life most vividly in the climactic exorcism sequence.

At that time, thunder roared and the track created a lively setting. Other scares popped up from the speakers along the way, and the whole package gave us a strong sense of setting that accentuated the spookiness.

Audio quality fared well, as speech was always natural and crisp, with no edginess or issues connected to intelligibility. Music appeared dynamic and full, while effects presented the greatest impact.

The scenes that jolted us offered deep, dynamic elements that punched us at the appropriate times. This ended up as a solid mix.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original 2005 DVD? The lossless audio felt a bit more dynamic and full, while visuals appeared more accurate and concise. The DVD seemed solid for its format but the Blu-ray functioned better.

The Blu-ray replicates the DVD’s extras, and these open with a running, screen-specific audio commentary from director Scott Derrickson.. He discusses how he got involved with the project, the story and its issues, characters and cast, the film’s palette and other cinematographic choices, balancing the courtroom drama with the horror, influences, changes made for the unrated cut, sets, music and audio, research, and many other production notes.

From start to finish, Derrickson proves informative and interesting. He covers a nice mix of subjects that give us a good look at the flick. And in what may be a first, he even refers to another commentary that he used for research, as he mentions that he screened Sidney Lumet’s chat for The Verdict to prep.

Here the student surpasses the teacher, as Derrickson’s conversation fares much better than Lumet’s erratic track. There’s a little of the usual praise, but not too much, as Derrickson stays on track and makes this an excellent commentary.

One Deleted Scene runs two minutes, 41 seconds. It shows Erin as she meets a guy in a bar and takes him home.

It’s an odd scene that doesn’t connect much with the movie, though I suppose it shows her loneliness. It was a good deletion.

We can watch the scene with or without commentary from Derrickson. He gives us the usual background information and lets us know why he excised the sequence. Derrickson continues to offer solid notes about the film.

The rest of the supplements come from a series of featurettes. Genesis of the Story lasts 19 minutes, 48 seconds as it presents notes from Derrickson, writer/producer Paul Harris Boardman, actors Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter, and Campbell Scott.

We learn why the filmmakers took on the project, research and writing the script, the story’s structure and characters, and the movie’s themes. A smart, incisive piece, this featurette gives us a thoughtful look at its topics and proves illuminating.

In the 12-minute, 23-second Casting the Film, we hear from Derrickson, Boardman, Linney, Wilkinson, and Carpenter. As expected, we learn about how the actors got their roles and what they attempted to do with their parts.

Carpenter’s work gets much of the attention, though don’t expect a lot of depth here. Unfortunately, this featurette turns out to be fairly fluffy, as we get a lot of praise for all involved without much depth.

For the final featurette, Visual Design fills 18 minutes, 58 seconds with statements from Derrickson, Carpenter, production designer David Brisbin, costume designer Tish Monaghan, visual effects supervisor Michael Shelton and animatronics designer Terry Sandin.

The show covers the film’s color palette, clothing choices, sets and locations, methods used to allow Carpenter to play her scary scenes, visual effects, and practical elements. “Design” repeats some information from the commentary, but it digs into its information well.

It’s especially helpful to see the behind the scenes aspects, as they elaborate on the subjects. I really like the detailed look at the Emily puppets created for the flick.

The disc opens with ads for 21 and Starship Troopers 3: Marauders. No trailer for Rose appears here.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose may not provide the horror shocks expected, but that shouldn’t be seen as a problem with the film. It provides a stronger than usual look at the subject. Buoyed by a good cast, it proves interesting and provocative. The Blu-ray offers very good audio and some informative supplements whereas visuals seem a bit erratic. While I’d like a better transfer, this still became a pretty positive release for a better than expected

To rate this film, visit the original review of THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE