Folks, I've mentioned that in the not-too-distant past I was one of those (cough cough) famous and beloved Amazon.com Top 1,000 Reviewers, a rank that lasted all the way up until Amazon pulled the rug out from under the feet of many of us who had helped make their site into one of the world's premiere web destinations. Without notice, the juggernaut essentially dumped countless scribes such as myself, never even giving us the chance to take note of all of contributions so that we could save them for posterity's sake or have them reprinted elsewhere. So one of the things I do from time-to-time is dust off an old review and deliver it here on SciFiHistory.Net. 2013's An Irish Exorcism is one such effort I watched and critiqued sometime back in 2015; I've tightened up the prose for its placement in this space. Enjoy! -- EZ
As I’ve said before, I enjoy found footage films.
So if you’re someone who either hates them or hates reading the review of someone who enjoys them and is perfectly willing to talk about them a little bit, then I’d encourage you to scurry off somewhere else. Why? Well, that’s exactly (and only) what An Irish Exorcism (2013) is – it’s found footage. It’s a flick assembled with all its relative visual rawness for the viewer to behold. While it may not offer up anything revelatory on that front or for the wider realm of Horror, it still possesses a workmanship common to the genre that deserves even modest admiration … but, alas, maybe not a lot else.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
From the product packaging:
“In her final year at school, Anthropology student Lorraine decides to film her final project – the subject of exorcism within the Catholic Church. Recording interviews with priests from the local diocese, she stumbles upon Fr. Byrne, an older priest who is currently helping a young mother whose daughter is apparently possessed by a demonic force.”
Now, you know that this is a found footage film. I’ve clarified that above, and even the provided synopsis makes it clear what you’re getting with this journey. If that isn’t your preferred lot in life, then I again encourage you to go elsewhere. Here endeth the lesson.
Still, a reader who scans the premise can probably determine without viewing it whether or not An Irish Exorcism is even “in your wheelhouse,” as they say. Exorcism films – by themselves – can be largely hit or miss – so coupling it with the found footage prospect likely didn’t earn this production many favors. As the guy who’s already seen it and is willing to tell you a little bit about it, let me assure you of a few things: (A) as found footage flicks go, it’s reasonably efficient; (B) you can expect all of the same traits of any other found footage films – good and bad – on full display; and (C) so far as the performances are concerned everyone hits their marks affably.
But honestly? That’s about it.
Essentially, what the audience has here is yet one more examination of young protagonists (a couple of college-aged students with conflicting opinions on the occult) coming together to document the efforts of priests trying to save a young child. There’s a total lack of anything fresh and/or inventive added to the mix, so all one might react to critically is how well is the story told. As I’ve said … well, it’s perfectly fine. It functions and does so affably even though there’s not much tension and/or suspense built into too much of the piece. The natural highlight of the whole affair similarly works; but, alas, that comes so late in the effort that I couldn’t help but look at my watch in a few places wondering what all the fuss was about. Most of the scares are implied, appearing offscreen most likely because this is a rather obvious low-budget chiller. Some might find that unique; I found it tiresome.
One thing I’d suggest for anyone interested?
Next time, try to tell this story without the found footage. Actually craft this tale in a far more conventional fashion. Who knows? It may’ve been more compelling. It certainly could’ve given these characters more to do than wait around for the frights to begin.
An Irish Exorcism (2013) (aka The Exorcism Diary) is produced by Frame It Films. DVD distribution is being handled by the reliable Virgil Films. As for the technical specifications? For an independent feature, this was actually fairly well assembled: I could quibble with the sound mix (some of the actors weren’t miked as well as they could’ve been) but it’d really be nitpicky. Lastly, if you’re looking for special features, there aren’t any; in fact, I couldn’t even find a master menu on this disc.
Only mildly recommended.
If you’re a fan of the found footage film, well, then here’s another one you can put on your viewing schedule or Bucket List. Sadly, An Irish Exorcism doesn’t add anything new to the genre; in fact, I’d argue it embraces the roots a bit too firmly to even be more than a one-time viewing. While there isn’t anything wrong with that, it certainly won’t add to any project’s shelf life in this day and age.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Virgil Films provided me with a DVD copy of An Irish Exorcism (2013) by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.