Saturday , May 18 2024

Film Review: the Baffling ‘Exorcism in Utero’

This film is a mess.

Take equal parts Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and It’s Alive — and drives a Mack truck through their story lines. Then you’ll kind of get close.

Here We Go

Herma Frigg (Sam Bangs) is a young woman on the run from her abusive ex-boyfriend in some small town. She ends up finding a job as a house sitter for recent acquaintances she met at church(!). They’re weird, but she settles into a comfortable if temporary life to get away from the abuser.

The husband warns her not to go into the cellar. But then he shows her where the key is to get down there. Well, duh!

The Basement

When the homeowners are gone, she can’t resist unlocking the door. There, she finds a BDSM torture chamber, complete with chains and handcuffs. Is she afraid? Not at all! She merely smiles happily and takes off her coat to relax and examine the dungeon further.

Even when she opens a vial that billows menacing smoke with a strange ring inside, she puts the ring on. At first, wearing it gives her feelings of pleasure, but then she vomits profusely. Like every five minutes. And she can’t take the damn thing off.

Hello, Neighbor!

The weird-ass next door neighbors take a liking to her (cue Rosemary’s Baby) and they invite for something to eat. She’s invited for a dinner with BACON. She’s down with that. They even invite her menacing ex.

Their preteen son, Peter (Leonard Hoge — who is in the running for the Peter Bark disturbing child contest), has been watching her obsessively through his bedroom window. Sometime he’s horrified and sometimes he’s intrigued. And during the bacon dinner, he bites off his own finger and eats it for no particular reason while Herma screams for him to stop it. “Don’t eat human blood! It’s okay to eat cow blood!” Some vegans may object to that statement.

Peeping Peter

Peter keeps peeping on Herma, watching fearfully or excitedly — who knows? — as she goes through various demonic gyrations. It’s so confusing because Herma sometimes seems like she’s writhing in ecstasy and other times is in mortal terror. At this point you know that’s these sinister neighbors are setting Herma up for a demonic birth, and indeed they are.

Take the birth and the resulting mayhem as rote. We have flying umbilical cords and an It’s Alive-looking baby menacing the cast.

Director’s Choices

Director Erik Skybak’s choices make no sense. Some of the actors are excited while others are fearful — in the same scene. Herma’s possession ends up with her looking as she’s been covered in dry clay. Guess the FX budget was getting lean.

The biggest problem is that individual actors seem to have been coached from miles away. Some look glazed over, while others seem in touch with the moment. And are you laughing or scared?

Voices from the Balcony was far more charitable than I was about this film. He did mention that with the right edibles…it could be a hoot. I agree.

Exorcism in Utero will be available May 23 on various platforms.

About Kurt Gardner

Writer, critic and inbound marketing expert whose passion for odd culture knows no bounds.

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