Tweeny teen horror comedy with some promising young stars and a gruesome exorcism sequence? Sounds right up my street. Sadly, this big studio feature film debut from Damon Thomas doesn’t quite hit the mark.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism is based on a book of the same name by Grady Hendrix and seems to follow the plot of the source material pretty closely. You’ll get no marks for telling me what the movie’s about, because the title doesn’t leave much to the imagination. What you won’t know beforehand though is that the film is set in the 1980s and follows Abby and Gretchen, who have been best friends since the age of 4. After a spooky girls’ night with their other friends and a trip into an abandoned house, Abby begins to act differently. Not too soon after she notices, Gretchen starts to realise that her best pal might be under the influence of a supernatural force.
Yes, I know Halloween was a week ago now, blah blah blah. Turns out I watched more spooky movies than I realised this year, so the schedule is slightly messed up here on The Quayside Review. But anyway, basically someone read the source material for this movie immediately after watching Stranger Things and thought it would be a good idea.
Okay, maybe that’s slightly mean. On paper, My Best Friend’s Exorcism probably was a good idea. It’s the execution that lets it down. Horror and comedy is a difficult balancing act to pull off, and it’s obvious what the director was going for here. The 80s vibes aren’t all that bad and it actually gives it a nice flavour, however it’s rarely funny and the horror elements are never really that scary, so the overall desired effect is just not there.
What annoyed me most about this movie was the cliché of it all. For instance, the soundtrack is filled with such bait 80s songs like Take On Me and I Think We’re Alone Now, both of which are used in practically every movie set in that decade. The costuming is pretty much just a parody of 80s fashion. Even the language used is cringeworthy. There’s just no originality here and it’s disappointing to see. And don’t get me started on that god-awful marketing. It looks like something I could have made myself on photoshop, not something that a streaming giant like Amazon would have funded.
As for the cast, they’re mostly fine. The only performance that stands out even slightly is that of Amiah Miller, who admittedly has the most nuanced and complex character to pull off, so she has the advantage even before she says a word. Other than Miller, it was nice to see Chris Lowell, and Elsie Fisher is fine, but it’s becoming apparent that she may never hit the heights of Eighth Grade again any time soon. Unfortunately there’s just not enough for anyone to sink their teeth into here.
Overall, it’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s far too long and a story we’ve all heard before. What I’m saying is, you should just watch Scream again instead.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.
TQR Category Ratings:
Costume & Set Design:
Overall Enjoyability Rating: ½