Film Review: AMERICAN EXORCISM (2017)

Film Review: AMERICAN EXORCISM (2017)

May 1, 2017

IMDb: American Exorcism (2017)
Director: Tripp Weathers
Stars: Michael Filipowich, William McKinney, Kate Tumanova

People think the worst thing about being a reviewer is sitting through bad movies, but it actually isn’t. As bad as it is being forced to sit through a truly awful film is, sitting through one that could have been good but blows it is worse, it’s not just bad, it’s frustrating as well. AMERICAN EXORCISM, the first narrative feature from Writer/Director Tripp Weathers is an example of that.

The plot is simple enough, Damon (Michael Filipowich IT STAINS THE SANDS RED) against the wishes of his wife, agrees to do one more exorcism. He and his team succeed in casting the demon out, but he returns home to find the demon has possessed his wife in revenge. She kills one of the exorcists before she gets killed, and all of this is seen by their eight year old daughter Caroline. Flash forward ten years, Damon is a reclusive surfer and Caroline (Kate Tumanova RIBBONS) is in foster care. When one of his old team mates shows up to tell him the demon may have major plans for the girl on her eighteenth birthday, he has no choice but to take up the fight again. But with one of his daughter’s boyfriend’s dead under odd circumstances, is he already to late?

While the plot is a bit generic the film still could have been enjoyable. There’s some well shot supernatural sequences, a fair bit of suspense, and for once the low end CGI actually works. As an added bonus Kate Tumanova is spectacularly beautiful as the grown Caroline, the way it stands her topless scene is probably the film’s highlight.

So what spoiled AMERICAN EXCORCISM’s effectiveness? Two things, the opening exorcism itself is intensely stupid, one character even brings a gun, (maybe that’s how we know it’s an American Exorcism), which never gets used. There’s also more martial arts than mystic ones on display, and it all gets the film off to an incredibly weak start. Even the fairly good followup with the possessed wife can’t revive it. But the main problem is how Damon performs a lot of his demon fighting with weird jerky motions and hand gestures along with bizarre noises, it’s like a cross between a badly dubbed 70’s kung-fu film and somebody having a mild seizure. It’s so ludicrous  it just kills any suspense or tension the scenes have.

This could have been an acceptable time killer with some nice skin to spice up the mix. Instead it’s a shadow of what could have been. It might still be worth a watch if you’re a hardcore fan of the exorcism genre, but otherwise it’s quite skippable.

AMERICAN EXORCISM will be released on VOD May 2 and DVD August 1 via Uncork’d Entertainment.