We gave it a B-
If you’ve ever watched Law & Order and thought, ”It’s good…but I wish Sam Waterston would drool blood,” then Scott Derrickson’s self-described ”courtroom horror film” is just the ticket for you. Based on a true story, a lawyer (Laura Linney) defends a priest (Tom Wilkinson) charged with homicide after performing an ill-fated exorcism on a teenage girl (Jennifer Carpenter). The director strove to create a possession — seen in flashbacks — that didn’t copy Satan’s other star vehicle. ”Anybody venturing into the territory of exorcism has to reckon with the leviathan that is The Exorcist,” he says. ”We tried to create scenes that are really frightening not because of makeup and CGI effects, but because of the realism. The Exorcist is scary, but most audiences know that real exorcisms probably don’t look that dramatic.” Yeah, enough Hollywood hype! Everybody knows that possessed people’s heads spin around only halfway.