Review: Exorcist Chronicles / Cert: TBC / Director: Philip Gardiner / Screenplay: Various / Starring: Rudy Barrow, Liz Mente Bishop, Nathan Head / Release Date: TBC
Contrary to popular opinion as to the role of the reviewer or critic, there’s little pleasure to be gleaned in carving up a movie whose closest relative is a bird eaten on festive occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Given the complete collapse of what was once defined as artistic merit and taste, even the most inept production can possess a certain cultural caché that renders a discussion of whether it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ almost redundant. Reviewing films can feel a little bit like pissing in the wind or heartily committing to a Sisyphean task. Ed Wood is lauded as the worst director that ever lived (as if it’s a badge of honour and accomplishment) and, in more recent times, production outfit The Asylum has found an audience with their range of ‘mockbusters’. Somebody, somewhere – whether in the last video shops standing, the bargain bin at their local supermarket or via a website – will give these sorts of movies a chance they barely deserve.
Philip Gardiner’s Exorcist Chronicles is a British horror adventure which cannot mask its borderline amateur origins. The production values, in general, are near to non-existent. The acting is wooden and the demonic possession clichés are dog-tired. While it is somewhat admirable that Gardiner and his cast play the material straight, the film is a chore to sit through.
A priest and a lady scientist (who dresses more like a prostitute than a lab geek) attempt to solve a mystery revolving around what appears to be a case of mass demonic possession. It’s an initially antagonistic relationship, but they must get along in order to destroy the evil! (Yawn…)
In the wake of The Last Exorcism Part II – which boasted a radical finale that will one day get proper consideration as the innovation that it is – Exorcist Chronicles is more than happy enough to deliver the same old song, dance and Roman rituals – chapter and verse.
The special effects look better suited to a television series (such as Most Haunted) and the use of mundane home interiors is laughable. The unadventurous lighting (a naff bleached-out high-contrast visual sheen) and very basic camera work all add up to a sense of cheapness and lack of visual imagination.
It might not achieve Birdemic 2 levels of crapness, but Exorcist Chronicles will join legions of other extremely low-budget efforts out there online and on DVD and will disappear soon enough and we shall think no more of it. Whatever the hell Exorcist Chronicles is – it isn’t cinema. Avoid it like the plague.
The DVD comes with a selection of trailers for movies that look just as crummy as Exorcist Chronicles. There’s also a behind-the-scenes featurette and a deleted scene.
Extras: See above