We think we have certainties, fixed points, anchors to cling to, then the world arrives and changes again, for the umpteenth time, all the cards on the table. It seemed we all agreed that Netflix has a problem with movies and that “a new Netflix movie” nine times out of ten sounds like a sentence; then comes Amazon Studios and says “hold my hastily assembled script!”, takes the stage and decides to prove that if he wants he can do worse. For example to produce and distribute My Best Friend’s Exorcism.
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There is a scene, we are at about 20 minutes of My Best Friend’s Exorcism, in which our four protagonists, in the company of the inevitable Representative Beef, are playing with a Ouija board while they are on vacation for the weekend in one of their lakeside houses. Suddenly a noise is heard from the broom closet, and poor Abby, the main protagonist of the film along with best friend Gretchen, is sent to investigate. That’s where I thought “if it’s a raccoon I swear I’ll turn it off and give up writing the piece”.
It was a broom, the raccoon comes a few minutes later.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism opens with Take on Me of A-Ha and closes with Karma Chameleonafter Boy George and the Culture Clubs were a constant and essential presence throughout the film. My Best Friend’s Exorcismquotes The exorcist, Carrie and ETcontains bicycles, drugs, Christianity and a trio of turbo-Christian bodybuilders named Lemon Brothers, who roam the high schools of America exhibiting their bodies sculpted in the name of the lord.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism seems written by a random generator of audiovisual products released in the wake of the great success of Stranger Things. It is also a film with such a big agenda, just and appreciable, albeit often declined in questionable ways, but which within a couple of scenes becomes the only reason for the whole film to exist. It is a horror (around you also read “horror comedy” but I challenge you to find scenes to laugh at) that makes the very delicate and not at all obvious parallel between demonic possession and rape, soon forgets it to take an unlikely path Mean Girlsto then decide to turn to the parody of Friedkin’s film more in bad taste than you see in a film from the days of Scary Movie 3.
The story is that it’s 1988, and Abby (Elsie Fisher) and Gretchen (Amiah Miller) are about to separate. In the sense that the second moves with the family, thus breaking a bond that the two have carried on since they are this tall. It is a beautiful friendship theirs, for some reason tainted by the presence, in their most intimate circle, of two other friends, each toxic in their own way: Margaret (Rachel Ogechi Kanu) is a queen bee concerned only with her physical appearance and endowed with a boyfriend-appendage which is the perfect embodiment of the jock the eighties as if those who were bullied at the time remember it; and Glee (Cathy Ang) is her shoulder not so comical, and perhaps, who knows, secretly in love with her.
This inexplicable group of friends fueled by poison and heavy pissing decides to spend a weekend at Margaret’s lake house, where the following things happen:
- girls are joined by margaret’s boyfriend, who sticks to her face and stops rolling his tongue in her throat just to make sex jokes and glorify the power of his penis
- the girls decide, as they are getting bored, to summon a demon with a Ouija board
- girls summon a demon
- the girls take LSD and go naked to bathe in the lake (together with the boyfriend, I remind you from time to time because his figure is basically useless)
- Abby and Gretchen, fed up with their friends’ company, run off into the woods to tell each other a lot of nice things. Here they find an old abandoned house in which a poor girl was sacrificed to Satan in a dark ritual a few years earlier. Obviously they decide to explore it
- Gretchen is possessed by a demon
So far, My Best Friend’s Exorcism it is written and shot like a billion other teen movies with the demon, and the only reason for interest is the fact that the girls attend a super-Christian school: how will the demon react in front of the cross of Christ and all those nuns? From the moment Gretchen is possessed, however, the tone changes dramatically, and what was previously a botched and unnecessarily nostalgic clone of so many better films than him goes mad, and begins desperately to find a way of her.
First he tries to be provocative and profound, and to use horror to make social denunciation. Gretchen understandably reacts badly to her possession, tells of “someone who comes to see me every night,” and then Abby decides that her friend has been raped, probably by Margaret’s boyfriend. He then begins a crusade to report the fact, first with Gretchen’s parents, then with her Sister Head, finally with her friends. But since My Best Friend’s Exorcism is a very thin film made up of elusive and ambiguous metaphors, nobody believes her. Great starting point, if treated well! Too bad that the rest of the film reacts by shrugging: hey, man, they didn’t believe you, patience, let’s forget the past, let’s move on!
And so, after having thrown away the first of eight hundred social metaphors, My Best Friend’s Exorcism he temporarily stops torturing Gretchen, and begins torturing the rest of the cast. The demon who possesses her has realized that in order to survive he must isolate his victim, and so he begins to act in the shadows to sow discord among the three – obviously not before he has taken poor Amiah Miller and hypersexualized her, with miniskirts, heels and heavy trick that remind us once more that the temptations of the flesh are the first step towards the damnation of the soul (yes, My Best Friend’s Exorcism it is a moralistic film but above all it is a Christian film). This is where MBFE try to become Mean Girls mixed with Carrie: the only result is three scenes in which the three girls’ weak points (Abby is shy and hates her pimples, Margaret sees herself as fat and wants to lose weight, Glee is a lesbian but can’t tell) are exposed and mocked, but not true consequences except psychological ones.
(these are very important scenes because in the credits we discover what is the fate of the characters after the end of the film: Margaret, for example, will become an ambassador of body positivity, while Glee … in short, you understand: we are talking about characters who are exclusively defined by these issues, they are two-legged explanations, walking metaphors, and I think it is one of those cases in which to talk about virtue signaling it is not wrong)
I’d like to tell you more about the ending, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise of discovering that the film titled “The Exorcism of My Best Friend” ends with an exorcism, and then with the demon’s defeat thanks to the power of friendship. Just know that when the exorcist enters the scene, and in particular since the exorcism begins, My Best Friend’s Exorcism he decides to vent all his low instincts, all together. The parody aspect (I struggle to define it as “humor”) collapses to Bagaglino level, and I swear to you that at a certain point the phrase “The power of Boy George compels you” is pronounced. The horror aspect explodes in a very dirty CGI that will make you regret the times when humanity went hunting bison armed only with a spear, and then huddled around the fire to look at the stars and gnaw on legs.
And above all, poor Amiah Miller is subjected to a series of tortures that far exceed not only what her character has done so far, but also the limit of good taste. All right, she’s possessed by a demon; but she is an innocent sixteen year old, and that up until then she has been portrayed as a victim of the situation. On the end, however, MBFEit unleashes. She is secretly given a good dose of rape drug (which Abby gets from the exorcist, incidentally), is kidnapped, tied to a bed, beaten, hit with handfuls of salt, and at one point they even put a funnel in her. throat and oblige her to gulp down litrates of holy water.
It is disturbing and out of place even compared to what has been seen so far, and it is even more disturbing that, in a film with four protagonists, the one who is possessed by the demon and turns into a hideous heartless lolita is not the one that everyone says. who is ugly and has pimples, not the one who sees herself fat and hides her insecurity behind her arrogance, and not even the lesbian, but the blonde angelic with the golden curls (Amiah Miller is kind of a cross between Chloe Moretz and Amanda Seyfried) and shorts that are too short. There is no point in pretending progressivism when ultimately your message is always that the hot blonde is Satan and that it is your flaws that bring you closer to God. But on the other hand we are still talking about a film that tries to deal with feminist themes. and which is based on a novel written by a man: can I say that you can see it even if I haven’t read it?