It’s finally the best month of the year and obviously we’re marking spooky season with as much horror as we can stomach (which is a lot).
This week’s pick, and our official first Collab film of October, is an adaptation of Grady Hendrix’s novel of the same name. It’s a book I enjoyed so I was pretty stoked to stumble across the film version – which admittedly – and IMO – appeared without much fanfare this week on Amazon Prime.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism (2022)
Teen best friends Abby and Gretchen grapple with an otherworldly demon that takes up residence in Gretchen’s body.
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Thriller ∙ IMDB user rating: 5.4
My score: 3/5 ∙ Runtime: 97 mins
Director: Damon Thomas ∙ Stars: Elsie Fisher, Amiah Miller
It’s 1988 and best friends Abby and Gretchen are getting used to the idea of the latter moving away over the upcoming Summer. While Abby worries about life without her BFF, Gretchen assures her they’ll always be as close as sisters.
The girls are good pals with two others – Margaret and Glee – but Margaret has a obnoxious boyfriend who winds up the group no end. One weekend, the girl gang set off for a few days at Margaret’s family cabin in the woods (where nothing bad ever happens) and all is well with the world. Until they decide to do a ouija board together.
The planchette spells out half a word but the girls are distracted by a practical joke and forget all about it when Wallace the bad boyfriend turns up with psychedelics. The acid doesn’t seem like such a good idea when Abby and Gretch decide to take a walk to an abandoned shed by the lake – an outbuilding rumoured to have been where a local girl went missing.
Things go very wrong when they enter and worse still when Abby gets freaked out by what they find there, and leaves Gretchen behind. She’s rescued moments later but just isn’t the same afterwards. And so begins the demonic possession of Gretchen Lang.
As whatever has attached itself to Gretchen embeds itself deeper, she suffers a complete personality transplant – and not for the better. Her friends are all in the firing line as she flirts with Wallace in front of Margaret, while also tricking her into losing worrying amounts of weight – and toys with Glee’s emotions. Meanwhile, she isolates and humiliates Abby publicly.
Will Abby get to the root cause of this completely out of character behaviour? And will she have the bottle to face up to it this time – or will she run again? Well, with the help of a Godly boy called Christopher Lemon, she might just stand a chance against her demonic soul sister.
This was fine in an enjoyable, The Craft-lite kind of way. It is very YA which I don’t have an issue with, though I think it loses something in the onscreen translation. I remember the shed scene being incredibly unsettling in the book but there’s not a whole lot of suspense here.
The performances are good – including the comedy relief Lemon brothers and a well-placed vomiting scene – and it captures the agony of adolescence and female friendship really well. Abby has a real complex about her skin and desperately tries to conceal her flaws with make-up – and that was me as a teenager. It actually hurt a bit to watch her struggle with it.
The effects and actual visible horror is a bit schlocky but I liked that. Until we see the ferocious demon who looks like a bad-tempered Dobby the House Elf and honestly pulled me out of the scene. All in all it was okay and there are worse ways to kill 90 minutes or so but it ties itself up a little too neatly in the end and just wasn’t terrifying enough.
5 thoughts on “My Best Friend’s Exorcism review”
Lol, the demon looking like Dobby the House Elf is such an accurate description! I also found that scene incredibly underwhelming, though the trick with the alcohol was cool.
People have really got to start consulting us on films more as we could have made this such a creep show.
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