My Best Friend's Exorcism (2022)
October 8, 2022 3:10 PM - Subscribe

Teen best friends Abby and Gretchen grapple with an otherworldly demon that takes up residence in Gretchen's body.

Adapted from Grady Hendrix's novel of the same name.

"There are flashes of a much better movie throughout My Best Friend’s Exorcism, but the one we get just isn’t self-possessed enough to hold onto them for long." -- IndieWire

"Though this ’80s-set horror-comedy takes an old-school approach to capturing the horrific happenings, the stunts are lackluster and the comedic hijinks are a tiresome bore. With very little interest conjured from the filmmakers to properly develop their characters, there’s little incentive to stay interested." -- Variety

"Some of Gretchen’s villainous overtures are genuinely upsetting — a full-blown body-horror set piece involving an 11-foot tapeworm almost made me look away from the screen — but the film repeatedly undercuts whatever tension is mustered with its frustrating tendency to crack goofy, juvenile jokes." -- New York Times
posted by Etrigan (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This was all right. Thin, yes -- it never really committed to the horror, and the climax was... meh. And Christopher Lowell was acting in a different movie from everyone else. But it was a pleasant enough not-too-cheesy horror flick for an October weekend.
posted by Etrigan at 3:12 PM on October 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

I was deeply disappointed by this, even though my expectations as a huge fan of the book were already really low. I really wish they had committed to a more serious tone. The cast playing the main four girls were all really good, but sadly left adrift by the rest of the movie. The ending was shockingly bad, dropping the coda from the book (which honestly would have felt unearned given the overall tone) and clocking out with freeze-frame title cards explaining what happened to some of the characters after the events of the movie. Including one character whose name was not uttered a single time during the movie! Why would we care what happened to that character when we barely saw them and didn't even know their name!? Baffling choice.
posted by tomorrowromance at 3:40 PM on October 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

This was pretty cheap and crummy. I liked the book -- I think a deep and abiding love for mid-'80s pop music is necessary to more than like the book, and I definitely do not have that -- but I don't feel like the people who made this movie did; it feels like the movie was made by people who read the Wikipedia plot summary and figured they pretty much got it. The worm...holy shit. What a disaster that scene was, corny effects that would have elicited laughter if you'd seen them in a SyFy show ten years ago, terrible, terrible. The entire tone of the book completely missed, by a mile. At least the guy playing the Lemon brother was funny. The book wasn't a comedy, but if the movie was trying to be a comedy, at least for a few scenes it was a good one.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:23 PM on October 8, 2022

Oh no, I was really looking forward to this
posted by Countess Elena at 5:11 PM on October 8, 2022

I liked it more than most here, I think, but maybe my expectations were tempered by really not getting much out of the recent film that Grady Hendrix wrote (but wasn't based on one of his novels), which was kind of in the "solid C" territory I found this one in.

Watched with my wife, who had also read MBFE but had forgotten the bulk of it, so I tried to describe how the book ended, and while I don't think anything is unfilmable inherently, I think maybe Hendrix does such a great job with loading the import and emotion behind the book's climax that you kind of forget it's important only because it's felt to be important, which is a hard thing to shoot.

I'm not a director, or particularly talented at translating ideas from one medium to another, so I don't know if I could have done better at the whole "power of Boy George compels you" sequence. It comes from a very, very internal and cultural place, so again, I don't really know how you'd do better with it other than maybe it could have been staged more dramatically? Different use of licensed background music? Dunno.

If I'd never read the book I think I might have liked the movie even less and been more baffled by the tone they were aiming for. As it was, I kept blaming the movie for not hitting me the way the book hit me, and it just seems like everyone tried their best but it's kind of difficult to turn some books into movies, maybe.
posted by Shepherd at 6:24 PM on October 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

It was okay but not great, I thought, and I'm a huge Grady Hendrix fan; I think the film swung at a difficult pitch and got a single when I wanted a home run.

My silliest complaint is that there is absolutely no way that Gretchen's rich conservative catholic parents have Pete Seeger tapes on hand.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:01 AM on October 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

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