This latest in the string of exorcism flicks trying to capture that Linda Blair Anderson's Pea Soup Magic Formula follows big-eyed Isabella as she tries to find out if her mama is possessed or just a whack-job. You see, Mommie Dearest killed three people during an attempted exorcism (on her, which everyone reminds us repeatedly) back in 1989, was committed to a Vatican-sponsored insane asylum—who knew the Vatican ran loony bins?—and now her grown-up daughter has agreed to be part of a documentary about the whole thing.
Daughter Isabella travels to Italy, attends an exorcist class, meets some exorcist priests, and, well, I dozed off there for a while, but when I woke back up, Isabella’s mom was freaking out, screaming crazy demon-possessed things at her that only a demon would know, I guess. Then Isabella’s priest friends, who run an underground exorcism service, convince her that the only way she can truly recognize demonic possession is if she goes to an exorcism with them. So she does, and they do the whole cross-and-holy-water-demon-be-gone routine on a woman who twists herself into a pretzel. Now that Isabella’s seen the real thing, they decide to go to the hospital to do a demonic possession evaluation on her mom, only they have to kind of sneak around becausethe Vatican doesn’t approve of unauthorized exorcisms, except the hospital seems to have no problem with them doing it, so that part didn’t really make a lot of sense.
Anyway, Mom seems unpossessed for a couple of minutes, but then she seems really, really possessed, which gets the priests all excited because now the Vatican will have to recognize that they have video proof of possession! Except the Vatican refuses to talk to them, the documentary filmmaker guy whines about how he’s feeling left out, one of the priests loses it, Isabella loses it, and pretty soon we’ve got a car full of possessed people careening down the Eyetalian highway toward an extremely annoying ending.
Let’s take a look at those Drive-In Totals:
Five bodies. Zero breasts. Three, maybe four beasts, if you count the possessed people. One house that belongs on Hoarders. One police shaky-cam. One crazy woman in the crawlspace. One exorcism gone bad. One field trip to the Vatican School for Exorcism. One foreshadowing of “transference.”. Multiple head slamming. One underground exorcism ring. One extremely limber possessed woman. One desperate need for feminine hygiene products. Priest-flinging. One whiny documentary filmmaker. Attempted baby drowning. One motor vehicle crash. Gratuitous documentary cam. Gratuitous talking heads. Gratuitous focus on pupil dilation. Demon-possession Fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Fernanda Andrade as Isabella, for being named Fernanda, and for saying “I really need to understand what happened” and “Exorcism has defined my life”; Suzan Crowley as Isabella’s possessed mother, for being creepy and saying “Do you know how to connect the cuts?”; Evan Helmuth as David the priest, for declaring “The entity in your mother has disciples!” and “Of course I mean demonic transference!”; and Pixie le Knot for putting the “ewwww” in the exorcism scenes as the “contortionist double.”