Originally entitled ‘Aura’, the latest film from filmmaker Steve Lawson (Hellriser, Nocturnal Activity)and Hereford Films has undergone a title change to the more accessible title of ‘The Exorcism of Karen Walker’ and whilst it does join a list of films that begin with the wording ‘The Exorcism of…’ film fans will know pretty much what they are going to get once they click play on this creepy feature film. First off though I will confess to not being a huge fan of possession movies, and films about spirits, ghosts and demons and whilst some of my favourite horror films are of that nature (The Changeling, The Exorcist and The Omen) When it comes to possession movies, they are a hard sell for me, but I always take that into account when talking about a film, knowing that the film wasnt really made for me but will definitely have an audience out there.
The film begins with a couple who investigate a newly inherited house (Roseneath) and discover some old photos and also Kirlian Photography apparatus in their new house (Kirlian photography is the ability to capture a persons aura with a snapshot). With this being a horror/thriller, the couple of course are Intrigued by the concept of photographing peoples’ Auras and unwittingly release an ancient evil. Now only the local psychic (perfectly played by Rula Lenska) can help them all and we quickly realise that and she knows far more than she is revealing Whilst the film is a slow burner, the plot thickens once Ada, the psychic enters the tale. Rula Lenska is always watchable in any role and this is backed up here.
The film is beautifully shot and with some great sound design and editing there are enough jump scares to keep horror fans on edge, and more than enough anticipation to keep you guessing where the film is headed, however as someone who has seen a lot of exorcism films, we can kinda work out what the final scenes will be. However thats not always a bad thing, just because a film doesn’t do anything super new, that doesn’t mean the film isnt entertaining or watchable and The Exorcism of Karen Walker is watchable for quite a few reasons, the previously mentioned sound design, the direction, but for me the stand out reason is the cast performances. Shane Taylor and Janine Nerissa are great as the couple Mitch and Diane and I would happily have watched a domestic film about these two characters as long as Shane and Janine played the roles. I had previously seen Janine Nerissa in the Richard John Taylor directed film The Krays:Dead Man Walking, and her name being attached to The Exorcism of Karen Walker was one of the reason I checked this film out.
I of course cant write my thoughts on this film without mentioning Denise Moreno in the title role, and whilst her role in the film might be written in the title, it isnt the biggest role of the story but Denise still gives a great and creepy as hell performance as ‘Karen’ the niece of Mitch who has, lets say, been away for a while. I wasnt familiar with the work of Denise Moreno before this film but she has now earned a place on my ‘Ill keep an eye out for her in other films’ list. Id give this film a thumbs up, and whilst any film about exorcism will always struggle to topple the William Friedkin classic, thats not to say that The Exorcism of Karen Walker wont keep horror films happy. Im sure it will, its just for me, I preferred the character drama scenes and the ‘whats going on’side of things of this film rather than the demonic side of things, but hey. It wouldnt be fun if everyone adored the same films now would it (unless of course you happened to be the studio that released that film)
The Exorcism Of Karen Walker is out now