THE EXORCISM OF ANNA ECKLUND

6.5 out of 10

Release Date: 7th March 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Andrew Jones  (The Toymaker / Robert 2 / Robert / Conjuring The Dead / The Haunting At The Rectory / Poltergeist Activity / The Last House on Cemetery Lane  / Theatre of Fear  / Amityville Asylum)

Cast: Lee Bane, Tiffany Ceri, Jeff Raggett, Rik Grayson, Claire Carreno, Sarah Tempest, Melissa Bayern and Judith Haley

Writer: Andrew Jones

Trailer: THE EXORCISM OF ANNA ECKLUND

MV5BMjIxMTM2MDE2OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzE3MjUyODE@._V1_UY268_CR9,0,182,268_AL_

Britpic is very happy to be able to write a good film review for Andrew Jones / Lee Bane’s Welsh horror film factory.  To date, ‘the world’s first horror film director to be afraid of the dark’ Mr Jones’ films have followed an upward arc in quality.  For ‘The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund‘ a few more lights have been turned off to cast some long shadows, and the script is sharper, plot more interesting, the acting great all round (most of the cast has stepped up to match lead actor Lee Bane this time) and it’s choreographed, scored and well filmed. You can actually say there’s a bit of cinecraft gone into this effort, as virtually all Jones’ films to date have had the ambience and mood of an Aldi Commerical (I wished they’d have cast Kerry Catona as Anna Ecklund come to think of it… or am I mixing brands???). There’s still a way for these guys to go, but now they’ve finally reached the gates of making cinema-strength b-movie horrors. Jones and Bane are about the only guys operating at no/low budget filmmaking in the UK that are rapidly improving. So we’d like to shout about them – eventhough in amateur blog land no can hear you shout.

Now I hate exorcism movies. They’re all the same. They all follow the same plot as The Exorcist to some point. And so does The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund. It has the ticklist of cliches: troubled priest, good christian girl gets possessed, no one but the priest recognises Latin, devil is everywhere, etc… What I did like were the flourishes and the well-choreographed fight scenes near the end. Clunkiness is at a minimum except for a crap scene with one of Anna’s (TIFFANY CERI – ROBERT 2) friends – which should have been chopped. Lee Bane (ROBERT) is once again, one of the main reasons and for once, not THE only reason to watch one of Mr Jones’ horrors. His priest is shows depths which the script can’t get to and he makes some of the baffling aspects to the surrounding mythology palatable and pretty damn interesting… and that’s what makes this exorcist horror fresh… the back story. Usually, Exorcism films are just wham-bam thank you mam, blood, guts and dick crucifixes – this film delves into some of the stories behind real life exorcisms…

Oh yeah, like Robert The Doll, this film is supposedly based on a true story. Hahahahahahaaaaaa. Put your hands up if you bought this / watched it because it was based on real life events and expected an accurate account?  I’m making myself redundant in even pointing this out aren’t I, but this is about as realistic as Zoolander is to the fashion world. I should know I perform exorcisms on co-Britpic reviewer Matt Usher / Joe Pesci II every time we meet.

Anyway f*ck facts, this is a great, tightly wraught, dare I say it scary and competent no-budget horror that I’d recommend this to pals that don’t watch arthouse movies. So the daft ones with little care for film culture. There’s room for Jones / Bane to improve but this is a significant step upward from Robert and Conjuring The Dead (the next best features).  Turn a few more lights off too next time. They’re next horror Robert 2 won’t have Lee Bane in a lead role to rely on (as he got killed with a loofah in part one – I think, so only half a spoiler there), so we’ll see if Jones’ can stand up tall without his partner in film-crimes.

6.5 out of 10 – Solid, well paced, and only slightly clunky, exorcism flick that contains some very good central performances from leads Lee Bane, Tiffany Ceri and regular Judith Haley (POLTERGEIST ACTIVITY) as a demonic fag smoking Mother Superior.

Read another review below by Matt Usher

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

Advertisements

One thought on “THE EXORCISM OF ANNA ECKLUND

  1. Review by the Exorcism of Matt Pea Gusher

    The real problem with the over-rated 1973 horror epic THE EXORCIST (apart from the number of rip-offs it spawned, the stupid legends and rumours relating to it, its intense pretentiousness, and that its notoriety obscures the fact that William Friedkin’s best film was that one where Jenny Seagrove played a naked tree-worshipping nanny from hell) (ed. The Guardian) is that it ushered in the age of the ‘Serious’ mainstream horror, with themes, and issues and seriousness and artiness. No longer was the horror film a simple matter of spills and chills and thrills, now it had the option of being Important and Meaningful. As such, ever since, any director can now have a go at making a horror which is Important and Meaningful without being scary or fun, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing – there are many impressive examples. This isn’t one of them.

    That’s a bit unfair. But the urge to be serious and deep might explain the eight-minute opening credit sequence of THE EXORCISM OF ANNA ECKLUND. Perhaps you recall how episodes of Inspector Morse began, with the credits intercut at leisurely intervals during the opening scenes. This is similar, but there’s just one scene: the unfortunate Anna Ecklund writhing in a state of Satanic possession in slow motion. The cutaways to the credits are a good idea at first, but when you realise that we’re going to get a separate credit for everyone who worked on the film (assistant editors, extras, caterers, the lot – more or less) you do wonder if they’re going to carry on throughout the film. But it all adds up to the director saying ‘look here, this is a Serious, Important, Meaningful film, not some semi-pornographic slasher nonsense’. And not just that, it also signals an attempt by the film’s director, the prolific and enthusiastic Andrew Jones, to stake out his territory as an auteur (or alternatively, as a Friedkin tribute act).

    Jones’ continues to use his signature style (point camera and hope for the best), but this time with longer shots and a few shadows here and there. And I must admit it does work for this story. This is a very quiet, sober, some might say ponderous (or boring) film, but it’s not afraid to take its time and spend time with the characters – this means that the actors have to do better than the usual run of the mill ‘aargh no urgh aarggh’ mode of acting which is the default requirement of the found-footage genre. This isn’t found footage, thankfully. Which means the actors have to be much more in control, but not all of them are up to it. Lee Bane is as dependable, weather-beaten and intense as ever, and still stands head, shoulders, torso, and legs above any other actor I’ve seen him opposite (but could someone, well, specifically Andrew Jones, give him some other stuff to do: smile, crack a joke, i.e. be something other than earnestly tortured? – which he excels at by the way). But the others suffer from amateur actor syndrome, that is, they tend to attempt to react like actors they’ve seen in films, rather than reacting like people in a given situation (they are better than a lot of acting line-ups I’ve encountered elsewhere though). Even so, for the most part, most of them are better than OK, and Tiffany Ceri in the title role has a lot of fun alternating between god-fearing and devil-worshipping modes of behaviour.

    If there’s a problem with TEOAE (apart from the title being really long) it’s that it doesn’t earn its right to exist. As my colleague notes, there’s not a great deal you can do with an exorcism storyline beyond tell it pretty straightforwardly: God-fearing girl gets possessed, a troubled priest with his own demons is called in, there’s some back-story involving troubled minor characters, the exorcism happens, doesn’t work, happens again (repeat these last three until the budget runs out), the film finishes either with the girl happily exorcised or dead or both, the only mystery being whether whether the film ends with someone’s eye’s ‘unexpectedly’ glowing red or not. This film follows the template without deviation or embellishment, and does it better than can be expected for its tiny budget. This is based on a true story – the first American exorcism no less. The film-makers have decided to eschew the original era and setting, as they did with ROBERT, and set the film in what appears to be a semi-American enclave in present-day Wales (though the stock footage of the Vatican City looks like it’s from c.1956), and they haven’t updated the story in any way to make it feel like a twenty-first century story.

    Despite Bane and Ceri giving it their best shots, I suppose I realised my attention wasn’t absolute when I found myself peering at the bookshelves behind our earnest heroes and wondering who Plekhanov was, as there are a couple of books about this chap quite prominently displayed. Plekhanov, it turns out, was an anti-Bolshevik Communist and founder of the Russian social-democratic movement. So why are our priests interested in him? Is there a clue here? Are the priests and nuns secretly planning a social-democratic-non-Bolshevik coup? Is there some parallel between ridding the world of the curse of the con-act which is Communism and ridding the world of the Devil’s influence? Or did they just happen to film the scene in a study belonging to a politics/philosophy/economics teacher?

    Unnecessarily noticeable props aside, TEOAE is surprisingly eerie, overly serious (thank goodness then for the smoking nun), utterly unnecessary, yet shows considerable signs of improvement on the film-makers’ previous efforts. The Jones/Bane canon is a curiously quizzical collection. By the normal standards of real films their work is at best rudimentary, rough and amateurish. But in the strange byways of the low-budget independent British feature film industry they stand tall, possibly because they seem to actually care whether the film is any good or not. It’s good to se they’re getting better each time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s