Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes (2011)

In 2006 when The Asylum’s “Halloween Night” was released, the studio claimed the film about a mental patient that crashes a Halloween party and begins slaughtering the guests, was based on true events because at the time there were reports of a mental patient on the loose and for a moment they were sure the patient snuck in to the party only to be assured he wasn’t. That’s their reasoning for calling something a true event, so I expect the same amount of circular logic and convoluted reasoning from Asylum’s spin doctors for proclaiming “Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes” completely and one hundred percent true in footage when it becomes painfully apparent from the opening that not only is the film one hundred percent staged, but about as poorly acted as any other Asylum farce to boot.

The Asylum is at their old games again with Jude Prest’s horror film entitled “Annaliese: The Exorcist Tapes” that purports to be an actual documentary with actual footage of an exorcism that inspired the film “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.” How to wrap my mind around that ridiculous sentence is a task I’m still trying to manage. The performances are collectively awful for what is nothing more than yet another attempt at an exorcist film, this time concerning young Anneliese who is being fought for by two groups of people, one of whom believe her to be epileptic and mentally ill, while the other believes her to be demonically possessed. From the beginning, “The Exorcist Tapes” wants us to desperately believe there is something here that is truthful. Whether it’s the dialogue that includes characters talking over one another (not a tough thing to do with enough practice) or the credits that don’t correspond with the routine opening credits.

“The Exorcist Tapes” is anxious to sell this is as hardcore proof on the ground floor of the exorcism trend, and like “The Last Exorcism” it fails big time. The seventies gloss and commitment to the “startling footage” doesn’t change the fact that this is all a fairly pedestrian and rote attempt at shock cinema that Asylum can never quite master. Better than they have tried and have failed and they don’t reach any further a momentum in carrying the mantle of “The Exorcist” in spite of their fancy editing and rather disturbing camera tricks. By the time “Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes” has reached its mid-way point it can never be sure if it’s still trying to convince us it’s pure utter reality, and relies on the over the top performances from its cast, most of whom–being purported professionals–marvel and screech at the show Annaliese puts on for the cameras.

They even argue the wizardry of science against the voodoo of religion. Original. I’d be prone to be easier on “Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes” were it not so exploitative of a still volatile case in medical history, and as such it’s yet another abysmal Asylum picture. If the Asylum can muster up even the slightest bit of originality without reducing themselves to goofy gimmicks and schemes that insult their fan bases intelligence, I’d love to see what they can do. But as it stands “The Exorcist Tapes” is an exploitative and fairly ho hum mock documentary that insists it’s all one hundred percent real and fails to convince us of such an idea.

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