Film Review: The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund
EXORCISM OF ANNA ECKLUND
“I’m doubting myself, Theo. You know this world, with all it’s war, famine, hate? Do we really make a difference here?” – Father Lamont (Lee Bane)
WHEN I found out director Andrew Jones was releasing a movie about demonic possession, my interest was piqued. I’ve always been fascinated by the subject and have, over the years, enjoyed the wealth of film and literature that has broached the theme.
This latest offering – starring Lee Bane and Tiffany Ceri – did not disappoint me. One thing that struck me was how the narrative was different from what I had expected. Most films will start from the outer edges of events, however in The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund, the viewer is taken straight away into the hellish nightmare of possession, facing our lead character as she battles a demon that has, literally, changed her over night. The opening scenes are bold, riveting and unnerving.
What I enjoyed about this film was the exploration of the age-old issue that has plagued humanity from the start: doubt. That seed that grows within, dividing and belittling and destroying until man is left empty of hope. This was the essence of Lee Bane’s character, as he portrayed Father Lamont. A man of the priesthood who feels flattened and defeated by a plaguing doubt in God. Here is where the heart of the story really unfolds – find a way to hold onto hope, anything is possible. How Bane drives his character through this experience feels extremely authentic and heartfelt. Many of the scenes, I found moving.
Above, Lee Bane
Tiffany Ceri as the possessed young girl, Anna Ecklund, does a remarkable job of portraying possession; at times her scenes are jarring, uncomfortable and dramatic. Her physical expressions have the eerie feel of reality to them – the demonic grin, the unnatural postures, the vocal chimes of distress. She does a good job of bringing this experience to life.
The cast as a whole, each and every one – including Jeff Ragget’s performance as Father Reisinger – is strong, and brings a validation to the story as it unfolds. I found the film to be eerie at times, and at others quite touching and emotional.
It is testament to writer and director Andrew Jones’s skill that he was able to take a theme that is so far removed from every day life – and yet make it believable. Yes, the film and literature pond are full of different takes on the possession subgenre, but I feel The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund does well at presenting the theme in a realistic and uncomfortable way.
It is interesting to note that the Anna Ecklund case is based on a true life account – and I am sure that many people will feel eager to check out the background on this after watching the film.
Actress, Tiffany Ceri
As the film advances, there is a scene in which Father Lamont stares heavenward, and echoes the words of Jesus Christ as He hangs on the cross. “It is accomplished.” What a powerful, artful and stunning way to draw the viewer from something evil to something beautiful.
If you are a fan of horror, or simply interested in the subject of demonic possession, I recommend you check it out. This film doesn’t rely on massive special effects and dramatic CGI – but this does not leave it lacking, and nor is it needed! – this actually lends an authentic feel to it. It is actually the character-led story that brings the film to life, that makes it matter. It doesn’t need the distraction of anything but the story itself. A story that seems so utterly real, so utterly human, so terribly close.
I rate The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund 4/5