Friday, December 8, 2017

Film Review—The Priests: Exorcism (2015)

The Priests: Exorcism (Review)
South Korea/2015
Format Viewed for Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"Some of its subplots don't fully develop and its first act isn't perfect, but the film ultimately delivers an entertaining experience."

A priest and a young seminarian rush to aid a young girl who appears to be possessed by an evil spirit.

The Priests: Exorcism follows Father Kim (Kim Yoo-seok) and a deacon named Choi (Kang Dong-won). After a hit-and-run accident, caused by two foreign priests attempting to expel an evil spirit, Young-shin (Park So-dam), a young girl from Father Kim's parish suffers from symptoms of possession. While trying to aid her, Young-shin attempts suicide. She clings to life months—and Kim continues the fight for her life. However, without a dedicated assistant, Kim has trouble saving Young-shin. So, Choi is recruited to aid Kim. Choi is also instructed to watch Kim due to rumors of Kim molesting Young-shin. It leads to a strong climax and a good ending.

The Priests: Exorcism starts off a bit rough. It's not exactly bad, it's a competently-made film after all, but it doesn't really have a strong impact. The first half of the film offers enough to keep you interested, some scenes might even spook or rattle you, but it ultimately fails to deliver strong punches. Fortunately, the plot eventually stands on its own two feet. The pieces start to fall together to create an entertaining hybrid of horror and drama. I applaud the film for doing more than the average exorcism film, too, especially during the actual exorcism. It doesn't rely on bone-popping, levitation, or other possession films clichés. It doesn't rely on jump-scares, either, although it has a few. This is more of a suspenseful, atmospheric film than a jump-scare roller coaster—and I like that about this movie.

The acting was also good. Kim Yoo-seok, who was stellar in Hwayi: A Monster Boy, and Kang Dong-won performed well as the leading stars. Park So-dam was also good, although her screen time was limited. The film was shot well. The lighting/color scheme is getting a bit too familiar in Korean films, but it's still attractive. The music was great, though. It blended with the mood of each scene and added to the tension without becoming intrusive. The film was written and directed by Jang Jae-hyun. Although the first act didn't immediately captivate me, Jang's writing and direction eventually started to hit me. He delivers a possession film that, although familiar, manages to stand out in the genre by its end.

Overall, The Priests: Exorcism is a good horror-drama. It's an eerie, suspenseful, and entertaining film about possession. Some of its subplots don't fully develop and its first act isn't perfect, but the film ultimately delivers an entertaining experience. I wouldn't rush out to see it, you wouldn't be missing much if you couldn't get your hands on it, but it is an entertaining little time killer if you're a fan of the genre.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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