Requiem Hans-Christian Schmidt

Though this film is based on the same case that inspired The Exorcism of Emily Rose, it’s worlds apart from that horror romp in terms of bias, method and general respect for the audience. Where the earlier film was doggedly coercive in its pursuit of pseudo-religious pap, Requiem is content simply to watch the decline and fall of a girl in the wrong circumstances; she’s a sheltered epileptic who’s beginning to have psychotic episodes that are naturally taken by the wrong people to be evidence of demonic possession.

The early portions of the film refuse to tell you where it will end up, we’re simply introduced to the shy young woman at the centre as she goes off to university and is exposed to things that open her world. But after we see her let down her hair, make a new friend and find herself a boyfriend, she’s attacked by anti-Christian psychoses and refuses to see a psychiatrist. Where this was the jumping off point for Exorcism, Requiem has already decided to build our tragic heroine’s world first, and it makes all the difference in determining how certain choices are made and how she gets sucked down into the uptight conservatism of her mother. Without damning religion in general, the film takes a rational approach that explores behaviour and social dynamics before jumping to superstitious conclusions.

Directed by Hans-Christian Schmidt with restraint and sensitivity, it shames its fright flick predecessor with a clear-eyed approach to the case it represents instead of laying on the template that destroyed its real life namesake. It’s an excellent film by any standards, and is well worth your time. (Mongrel Media)