Movie Review: My Best Friend's Exorcism (2022)
Synopsis: Teenagers Abby Rivers and Gretchen Lang are best friends in 1988, with Gretchen being the one person who makes the strict Catholic school they attend bearable for the Jewish Abby. When they go on a trip to a lake house with two other friends, they are introduced to acid for the first time and, while on the drug, explore an abandoned house, where they both get spooked by something and become separated for several minutes. When Gretchen begins acting strangely at school the following week, Abby assumes it is from the drugs. She then suspects her friend was raped. The truth about what happened to her friend, however, is much more complicated. Gretchen is possessed by a demon.
Review: This movie has been on my list for several weeks, but I wasn't really sure if it would be worth watching. My wife and I finally did just that yesterday evening and it turned out to be unexpectedly good.
From the description, I assumed this would be an attempt at horror/comedy, which more often than not doesn't pan out. Instead, this movie was more of a drama than either of those things, using the whole demon possession thing to discuss various other topics teenage girls often face, such as body image and sexuality. The movie was surprisingly intriguing as a result.
For me personally, it was very impactful to see the possessed Gretchen (Miller) become the exact opposite of what she was and the way she tortured Abby (Fisher) among others. Abby, as her friend, told Gretchen her most intimate secrets, only to see those things used against her when the demon made Gretchen her enemy, everything from the acne problem she kept covering up with makeup to her crush on one of the priests.
This only became more intense as the demon worked to isolate Gretchen by targeting others who were considered friends and also specifically targeting their secrets. One friend who thought she was too fat was given a weight loss shake with a horrible secret. Another friend was tortured because she was a closeted lesbian, leaving Abby, who was hurt the most of all of them, as the only person left to fight the demon when she realized what was going on.
The exorcism part of it was probably the one thing I would consider somewhat funny, though that too grew into something a bit more personal and emotional than would be expected. At minimum, it was entertaining to watch because it was unclear how Abby would save her friend. I like movies that aren't predictable.
My one complaint is I felt like the ending was a bit too much of a downer. It wasn't unexpected since the film warns the viewer in advance but given everything their friendship went through over the course of the film, it would have been better to end things on a higher note, even though the filmmakers do try to correct it with a "here's what happened to the characters" segment.
Final Opinion: From the title, this sounds like a movie that will be a bit too goofy. However, it is a surprisingly good film about the power of friendship, and I wound up enjoying it as a result.
My Grade: A