REVIEW: ‘My Best Friend’s Exorcism’ is A Great Start to Spooky Season

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My Best Friends Exorcism - But Why Tho

My Best Friend’s Exorcism is the newest horror film by director Damon Thomas (Killing Eve) and writer Jenna Lamia (Good Guys). Dropping on Amazon on September 30th from Amazon Studios, My Best Friend’s Exorcism is an adaption of the 2016 Grady Hendrix novel of the same name. Hendrix’s knack for blending horror and comedy mixes perfectly in this adaptation and I think that fans of his best-selling novel will love this film.

At two hours long, My Best Friend’s Exorcism follows two best friends Abby (Elsie Fisher) and Gretchen (Amiah Miller) as they navigate the world of teenage dom. From having a friend who has an insufferable boyfriend who won’t stop sucking face to dealing with overly religious parents who won’t let you wear lipgloss, the film places viewers right in the trawls of the 1980s. Its setting is not flashy and reminds me of watching films like Heathers, Carrie, and even Ghostbusters. Music references are plastered all over the sets from Boy George of Culture Club to Blondie, it feels lived in and authentic to these characters.

Aside from the setting, the plot is fairly simple. Gretchen and Abby are incredibly intertwined and do everything together. They gossip about boys, hold hands in school, and scoff at the religious fundamentalism of their all catholic education. They are rebellious like any other 16-year-olds and take a weekend off to hang out at their friend’s lake house. It’s typical horror fanfare: Abandoned, isolated cabin location, a foray into underage drinking/ drug use, and demonic possession. Gretchen leaves that weekend altered, angry, and alone. She feels like Abby abandoned and left her for dead.

The dialogue that ensues from the start of Gretchen’s demonic possession is incredibly important, even if they aren’t explicitly explored in a deep manner. In Gretchen’s demon form, she begins to terrorize her friends and specifically pits Abby against everyone else. It instantly brings the cult classic Jennifer’s Body to mind as it thoroughly explores female friendships. However, the main draw of My Best Friend’s Exorcism is that Abby never leaves Gretchen’s side and attempts to figure out what is wrong with her.

The film also explores conversations about underage drug use with Abby and her mother.  Abby investigates teen girl magazines to see if any other girls their age has written about their experiences. Abby, a non-practicing Jewish girl, reaches out to a Christian trio of bodybuilders who perform their zealous routines at (mostly) high schools to see if they could figure out what’s wrong with Gretchen.

Discussions of possible sexual assault are frank and refreshing to see as Abby tries so hard to save her friend from a possible evil demise. With so much media surrounding teen girls being pitted against each other, especially during their time of need, it’s great to see female friendship at the forefront of the battle of female suffering.

Even if the only way Gretchen can be saved is through the literal exorcism of the demon who has overtaken her body, the fact that Abby makes sure she is safe, comfortable, and heard is very important and a solid reason to even hit play on the film. It’s certainly not The Exorcist in terms of terror but Christopher Lowell’s performance as a school entertainer bodybuilder who helps Abby is absolutely hilarious.

There is so much to love about this film. The connection to the 80s is never thrown in your face, feeling like a slice of an era rather than a cheap cash-in on nostalgia. The relationship focus between Abby and Gretchen is quite literally to die for. Surprisingly deep in themes of self-love, sexual assault, and the power of friendship, the laughs and heart are well worth the scares packed in My Best Friend’s Exorcism.

Stream My Best Friends Exorcism everyone on September 30th on Amazon Prime Video.


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