Some genuine shocks punctuate The Exorcism of Emily Rose, an unusually intelligent genre item that manages to mix full-bore horror with courtroom drama.
Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times
Somehow the movie really never takes off into the riveting fascination we expect in the opening scenes. Maybe it cannot; maybe it is too faithful to the issues it raises to exploit them.
Lisa SchwarzbaumEntertainment Weekly
Part "Law & Order," part "The Omen," the movie doesn't trust the audience to follow serious theological and legal discussion without a spook hook.
Take away the performances, and all that would be left is a cheapish B-grade motion picture.
Scott TobiasThe A.V. Club
Part courtroom drama, part otherworldly shocker, the film basically restages the Scopes Monkey Trial and comes out once more against Mr. Darrow, and it's got the spine-twisting, tongues-speaking, devil-channeling hellion to prove it.
It's hard to get riled up one way or the other by a film about an exorcist who is forced, cruelly and relentlessly, to introduce one flashback after another.
Michael AtkinsonVillage Voice
Derrickson's flick can sour your stomach with piety, which is a shame -- its moments of jolt wattage rate with many J-horrors.
Chuck WilsonL.A. Weekly
Creepy enough at first, this relatively gore-free film gradually becomes a stifling talk-fest in which superb actors drone on for so long about the nature of belief that one longs for a juror to spew a little pea soup.
Robert WilonskyDallas Observer
It has but one thing going for it: a cast filled with Oscar nominees.