October 2, 2022 My Best Friend’s Exorcism (Movie Review)
What’s more powerful than demonic possession? The answer, the power of friendship. Hitting Amazon Prime on September 30, 2022, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, based on the novel of the same name by Grady Hendrix, is The Exorcist (1973) meets Jennifer’s Body (2009), but matched with the most stellar ’80s soundtrack.
Directed by Damon Thomas (Penny Dreadful series, Killing Eve series), My Best Friend’s Exorcism follows the friendship between two high school sophomores; Abby (Elsie Fisher: Despicable Me 2010, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022) and Gretchen (Amiah Miller: Lights Out 2016, War of The Planet Of The Apes 2017). Friends since the fourth grade, their friendship is threatened after Gretchen gets possessed by a demon. Now it is up to Abby to save her friend before it’s too late.
Setting the scene, the year is 1988 and Abby and Gretchen just want to listen to Boy George and make the most of their time together before Gretchen and her family move away. Alongside their friends Glee (Cathy Ang: Ramy series, And Just Like That… series) and Margaret (Rachel Ogechi Kanu: Cheer for Your Life 2021), they are plagued with the typical struggles of the average teenager; figuring out who you are while trying to navigate hormones, their parents, and high school. These factors in mind, they decide to spend the weekend at a lake house, and between swimming and listening to the latest hits on their portable pink radio, they decide to pull out the Ouija board… big sleepover no-no. While the Ouija board ends up setting up a prank from Margaret and her douchebag boyfriend Wallace (Clayton Royal Johnson: Strangers Things series, Echoes series), the planchet starts to move on its own while no one is looking… huge red flag, obviously.
After the group partakes in some generic acid and skinny dipping, Abby and Gretchen set off on their own and stumble across an abandoned building that’s the cause of a local urban legend connected to the disappearance of a girl who was rumored to be tied to satanic rituals, demons, the whole nine yards. It all seems like a scary fairy tale until Gretchen and Abby get separated and Gretchen leaves the building a lot different than how she entered.
All of sudden, Gretchen is irritable, dirty, and is acting weird around religious objects – which is inconvenient considering they go to a Catholic school. Abby thinks her friend has been assaulted and tries to alert Gretchen’s parents and the school who are less than helpful. Once Gretchen goes full Linda Blair at lunch, it’s evident that the situation is more sinister than Abby thought.
Without giving too much more away, My Best Friend’s Exorcism is the perfect combination of comedy and horror. It’s light-hearted, fun, with the right amount of creepy. Furthermore, for fans of the novel, this film is a great companion piece, taking the story from page to screen in the most beautiful way. The dynamic between Abby and Gretchen is perfectly brought to life by Fisher and Miller. Their chemistry is the best part of this film, their portrayal inspires you to actively root for them because you want to see them win. If any friendship can defeat the devil, it’s this one.
One of the things this story does right is using their friendship as the catalyst as the end all, be all for what’s going to save Gretchen’s life. In a similar fashion to the novel, the friendship is the focal point of this film. And despite its humorous moments, the tension in the film is palpable. You can feel everything from Abby’s torment as she fights to save her best friend, to Gretchen’s desperation to cling to her humanity as the demon attempts to sink its teeth into her soul.
All these factors in mind, My Best Friend’s Exorcism is the perfect film to add to your watchlist this Halloween season. It’s a story that will be beloved by Horror lovers and genre newbies alike. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll turn to your best friend and tell them that “you’ll love them through demonic possession and all.” That is why Cryptic Rock gives My Best Friend’s Exorcism 5 out of 5 stars.