Abby (Elsie Fisher) and Gretchen (Amiah Miller) are best friends. They go to the same Catholic school, kiss the same poster and support each other. They make room for their other two friends, Glee (Cathy Ang) and Margaret (Rachel Ogechi Kanu), though it’s mostly Abby and Gretchen, who the film focuses on. Gretchen is about to move to another state, but my best friend’s exorcism isn’t interested in a tearful goodbye. As its title suggests, director Damon Thomas’ film is about exorcism. This means the best friend is possessed, and that friend is Gretchen.
The moments leading up to the mentioned possession are lively, funny and effervescent. The whole movie moves with an airy rhythm that keeps it from getting boring. The scene where Gretchen and Abby cross paths with the demon is filmed with some skill, as a manipulative voice separates the two friends. My Best Friend’s Exorcism sees demonic possession as rape, and if you think about it, it is precisely that. Either way, an unwanted creature forces itself upon you to enter your body.
Another interesting thing about the movie is that it reveals how cruel teenagers can be to themselves as well as to others. Glee is gay and Margaret wants to lose weight. When Gretchen exploits these things about them for sadistic pleasures, you don’t see a demon playing tricks but a teenager bullying other students. Maybe the movie means that we shouldn’t think of children as too pure and innocent. When it comes to children, some people and parents tend to be as narrow-minded as conservatives. They think their child is the most naive human on the planet when in reality, he may know about much more adult stuff, including drugs.
I can overthink or overthink as much as I want. However, that won’t change the fact that this movie has some serious flaws. The jokes don’t land and the weirdness seems forced. After shocking us with life-threatening moments, including one with a peanut allergy and another with Margaret’s body obsession, the film has us swallowing lighthearted scenes like the one with a yogurt-eating Lemon brother. The exorcism towards the end with high-fives and an emotional moment is neither scary nor heartfelt. Yeah, that’s not funny either. My Best Friend’s Exorcism isn’t capable enough of mixing humor with horror. Amidst it all, Gretchen’s peeing scene sticks out like a sore thumb. It doesn’t sound sad or silly or wacky. It’s just there without any feeling.
The young actors are excellent. If you’ve watched Eighth Grade, then I don’t need to tell you that Fisher is a good actor. I was pleasantly impressed by Miller, Cathy and Ogechi Kanu. If you don’t give up and declare the film ridiculous, it’s because these actors are doing their job with sincerity and fervor. Too bad the film is not up to the talents of the actors.
Final score – [5.5/10]
Reviewed by – Vikas Yadav
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