Sommerleigh – Senior Writer
Me: It’s October guys! You know what that means!
Me: Horror Movie Binge Time!! Who’s in?
Friends: Sounds good, what are we watching?
Me: Well I have a whole stack of exorcism mov- hey! Where are you guys going??!
Friends: Anywhere but here.
Me: But her head spins around and everything!
Friends: YOU NEED JESUS!
Exorcism movies. Even the toughest of horror fans tend to avoid these. Maybe it’s because most of us grew up going to church every Sunday, hearing about the horrors of Hell. Maybe because a lot of these movies are shot in a way that make them seem a bit “too real.” Whatever it is, exorcism movies tend to be some of the scariest horror movies out there, and so, because I love messing with my friends (chickens!), here are my TOP 5 SCARIEST EXORCISM MOVIES (BESIDES THE EXORCIST).
#5 The Rite
Inspired by a true story (as most of these movies are) a young priest named Michael is pushed into training as an exorcist and is sent by the Vatican to train under their very best at this kind of thing, Father Lucas, played by Sir Anthony Hopkins himself.
Right off the bat, I’ll admit The Rite isn’t a great movie. It’s slow pace and lack of anything really happening until the last act will probably cause most people not to watch it. But trust me when I say it’s worth it to see Anthony Hopkins in one of the most creepy moments of possession ever brought to film.
It’s best to watch this one without knowing anything about it, as there are a few twists you might not see coming. Hopkins is honestly amazing here and the atmosphere of this movie will leave you with a serious case of the chills. I guarantee it.
#4 The Conjuring 2
It’s funny, but most people (including myself) probably think of The Conjuring Pt 1 and 2 more as ghost movies, than possession ones. You tend to forget a large portion of the plot is about demons using ghosts to weaken their intended victims, so they can then take them for a ride like a stolen bicycle.
Part 2 has the honour of being that rare sequel that tops the first film, introducing audiences to one of the most terrifying demons ever brought to life. It’s a shame The Nun wasted Valek, because he/she/it is a nightmare brought to life. Seriously, I’ve seen this movie at least half a dozen times now and that scene with the painting of the nun still gives me the heebie jeebies!
#3 Deliver Us From Evil
It’s a little weird to say out loud, but I love this movie. Another film supposedly based on a true story, Deliver Us From Evil gave us a different take on the whole possession spiel, by playing out mostly as a cop drama. A cop named Ralph (played by Eric Bana) is investigating strange events in his city, and things only get stranger when he meets a priest who opens his eyes to what’s really going on under the surface.
The film features solid jump scares (who knew those still existed!), intense drama and a sense of dread that builds all the way to the climactic exorcism at the end. And if you still aren’t sold, how about the fact director Scott Derrikson was also the man behind the lens for Sinister and ahem, Doctor Strange.
#2 The Last Exorcism
Like I said earlier, one of the reasons I think people avoid possession/exorcism movies is they feel too real to them. Well throw in a movie shot like an actual documentary and you’ll rack that realism up to 100.
This documentary-styled movie follows a faithless exorcist and charlatan named Cotton Marcus who’s called to a farmhouse to perform an exorcism on the farmer’s possessed daughter.
There’s something inherently fun about watching a con-man get his comeuppance in a horror movie, but you don’t have time to really enjoy it as when this movie goes dark, it goes all the way dark! Actress Ashley Bell plays the daughter who has the unnatural ability to contort her body, making for moments that will have you reaching for the holy water and asking yourself “why the hell did I put this movie on!!”
#1 The Exorcism of Emily Rose
I have two reasons for leaving The Exorcist off this list. Number 1: Everyone knows it’s the granddaddy of possession movies. It’s the reason these movies even exist. Number 2: It never scared me. Seriously, not even as child (and I saw it WAY before I should have).
I can’t say the same about Emily Rose.
Dexter star Jennifer Carpenter gives THE MOST BELIEVABLE performance of possession I have ever seen. But not only that, we have a genuinely compelling tale that leaves you guessing as to whether she’s actually possessed, or whether she’s just a mentally ill person who isn’t getting the treatment she needs.
The scene in the barn was so haunting and scary the actual crew shooting the film thought Carpenter was really possessed, and they were making the damn movie!
So if it scared them, you can imagine what this movie did to audiences. Honestly, it’s one of those movies you watch and then find every excuse in the book to never watch again.
So maybe you’re one of those people who doesn’t find these types of movies scary. Maybe you can watch them all back to back without batting an eye. Good for you.
For the rest of us, these are the movies that you avoid watching late at night. That way, you don’t have to sleep with the lights on, while you try to remember all the words to Psalm 23, kicking yourself because you keep mixing up the order of the lines.
Dammit! Now I have to start over!
For my Top 5 Movies in The Conjuring Universe you can click here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes. Double Tap Baby!