25 April 2014 | Coventry
Sinister & ambitious Exorcism-horror
Since 2010 or so, exorcism horror movies appear to be totally hip again. Personally I have never been a big fan of this sub genre (and even think that some of the greatest classics are a tad bit overrated), so I couldn't yet bring myself to watch all those similar looking and clichéd sounding new titles like "The Last Exorcism", "The Possession", "The Devil Inside" or "The Rite". At this year's edition of the Brussels International Festival of Fantastic Films, however, I was immediately intrigued by a modest and rather anonymous little Spanish effort entitled "Asmodexia". The poster art looks creepy, the title alone sounds intriguing already and – most of all – the plot appears to be more original and ambitious than the average "innocent young girl possessed by the devil" vehicle. Unusual as it may sound, debuting writer/director Marc Carreté comes up with the creative idea to blend the exorcism rites with a kind of road-movie concept and, moreover, even link it to the infamous 2012 Maya-predicted apocalypse. Elroy de Palma, formerly the leader of a creepy hippie cult, roams around the Barcelona area with his 15-year-old granddaughter Alba in order to perform exorcisms. The phenomenon of demonic possession strangely turned into a kind of virus that spreading fast, especially among the most vulnerable members of society like children, mental patients, and drug addicts. They are also pursued by wicked disciples of Elroy's old sect, and they are particularly interested in Alba's pure virgin soul. "Asmodexia" is an extremely tense thriller with a constantly grim atmosphere and an intelligent (albeit slightly too convoluted) screenplay. Several sequences (notably the ones shot inside the mental asylum) are disturbing and the finale is sublime and much more satisfying than any other exorcism-horror I've seen. The modestly budgeted film also benefices from slick and impressive camera-work and a moody soundtrack. There's also a more than decent amount of shocks and bloodshed, for the sick puppies among us, and the acting performances are very adequate. If you choose to watch your next exorcism-horror film, why not make it this Spanish one?