American Exorcism Classic Approach Modernized with Minimal Cliché
American Exorcism Film Details
Director: Tripp Weathers
Writer: Tripp Weathers
Release Date: 2nd May 2017, 1st August 2017
Release Format: VOD, DVD
MPAA Rating: N/A
Damon Richter thought he left the world of possessions, exorcisms, and evil behind until an old friend arrives with frightening information about his estranged daughter knowing that only his otherworldly skills can save her.
The battle between good and evil provides a generic foundation in Horror cinema. The many variations of this concept have one common thread, structured beats. Audiences will expect similar circumstances, story structure and character come into play. This constant replay and repackaging transform this Horror concept into a tired cliché.
Much of the demonic possession story structure remains constant. Yet, there’s the occasional production that adds a fresh perspective to the concept. These films exorcise predictability to make way for creative redirection.
Demonic possession is as much a staple in Horror cinema as zombies and slasher films. In this particular niche there’s the expectation of unnatural creepiness and scare factor. Out of all Horror film concepts, the demonic possession theme is most gripping.
American Exorcism suffers from poor marketing. The poster art, upon first glance appears comedic. The film title is another poor choice. It was difficult not to approach the film with seriousness based on the branding. American Exorcism is another reason to not make the quick judgment based on the cover.
Audiences will expect typical diabolical scenario in Tripp Weathers’ upcoming Horror. Yet, Weathers offers surprises in his production. The film becomes an entertaining concept, a fresh perspective to the scene. In contrast to the ill poster design, American Exorcism is a legit modern take on a classic theme.
The majority of the performances in American Exorcism have grounded talent. The leading cast members executed their roles with a satisfactory grade. The performances offered had a balance of chemistry and believable approach.
Actor Michael Filipowich steals the spotlight in his portray of the protagonist, Damon. Filipowich dons the tortured soul archetype versus the dark unknowns. This role is the most over done template in Horror cinema. In fact, Robert Kirkman features such a character in his supernatural graphic novel.
Filipowich adds a rich layer of acting to his character. The actor doesn’t portray the role he embodies it. With a gruff appearance and strange demeanor, this protagonist revels in badassery. One note to add, Filipowich’s delivery of a foreign dialect seems comical at first. The unorthodox recital and accompanying acting method progresses with interest.
Interesting enough the cinematography was basic. This fundamental approach works well for the film. Interior shots the low-key ambient lighting that’s expected in the average home. If the environment had added lighting it wasn’t noticeable. For more intense scenes little attention went into the environmental characterization. Colored gels could’ve intensified the aura surrounding the performers. Yet, doing without it does work well for the film.
Weathers’ approach behind the camera was also subtle and direct. The shots were not elaborate nor did the captures have any creative angles. Yet, in American Exorcism the simplicity mesh well together creating fabricated realism.
The plot for American Exorcism rests on the borderline between pros and cons. Let’s begin with what works. The characters although template based has substance in this film. There’s a sense of tragedy that is both gripping and plausible. The protagonists were re-calibrated as tough guys thus relating to a modern approach. Firearms and demonic tattoos substitute priest collars and holy bibles.
The computer generated effects were the major downfall to this film. These visual did not contribute instead it embarrasses the narrative. For example, a fight scene resembles a round out of a Street Fighter video game.
The scare factor lacked impact. Sequences involving the antagonizing force has more of an action-oriented feel. In a sense, American Exorcism comes across as a supernatural drama with action elements.
The protagonist lacked character development. Those closest to him also suffered a similar disregard. Actor Noel Gugliemi does what he does best and that is embarrassing the Latino community with his stereotypical portrayal. There are scenes that carried the weight of acting disappointment. With unrefined B-movie prose, these scenes were outright terrible.
American Exorcism has its technical flaws. Yet, a direction was employed in not making this production generic grade. The protagonist suits well for modern audiences. Actor Michael Filipowich awards intensity to this lead role. Poor character development and the occasional B-movie acting become tragedies for Weather’s production. Yet it is the CGI that looks more disturbing that the demonic fabrications portrayed in the film.
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