Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 32
  2. Negative: 7 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Some genuine shocks punctuate The Exorcism of Emily Rose, an unusually intelligent genre item that manages to mix full-bore horror with courtroom drama.
  2. With a cast like this, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a superior performance vehicle and on that count alone is never less than riveting.
  3. 75
    Somehow the movie really never takes off into the riveting fascination we expect in the opening scenes. Maybe it cannot; maybe it is too faithful to the issues it raises to exploit them.
  4. Emily Rose is the thinking person's demon possession movie, which presents a chilling case history that's hard to explain away.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Plays like a modern-day inversion of "Inherit the Wind," highlighting an astonishing shift in the American legal system over the last 80 years.
  6. Fans expecting horror won't want a thought-provoking, well-acted courtroom drama about the intersection of religious belief and the law.
  7. Part "Law & Order," part "The Omen," the movie doesn't trust the audience to follow serious theological and legal discussion without a spook hook.
  8. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Fashioning a hybrid of a courtroom drama and a horror film that is suspenseful and scary requires a clear vision and directorial finesse. Rose lacks both. But the performances are topnotch.
  9. 63
    Take away the performances, and all that would be left is a cheapish B-grade motion picture.
  10. 60
    Could have been both a gripping courtroom drama and a chilling "is she or isn’t she?" horror tale. What we have instead is a movie that drifts, almost unmanned, from plot point to plot point.
  11. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    Ror all its cleverness, Emily Rose does have its hokey moments.
  12. It's a pretense of even-handedness. The true story has been reduced to a case for faith. It merely sacrifices all reason to get there.
  13. Reviewed by: Richard James Havis
    Derrickson's characters are reduced to ciphers in a theological debate. Long wedges of the film are simply a discussion about the relative merits of science and superstition. Carpenter, as the sick girl, puts in the best performance.
  14. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    It's hard to get riled up one way or the other by a film about an exorcist who is forced, cruelly and relentlessly, to introduce one flashback after another.
  15. 50
    Allegedly it's based on a true story, which is believable only because the outcome is so unsatisfying it carries the dull metallic tang of real-life ambiguity. And that's neither scary nor stimulating.
  16. 50
    This windy courtroom drama is punctuated by cheesy flashbacks.
  17. Reviewed by: David Gilmour
    Positively hops with jolts and frights but they're the cheap kind.
  18. 50
    Part courtroom drama, part otherworldly shocker, the film basically restages the Scopes Monkey Trial and comes out once more against Mr. Darrow, and it's got the spine-twisting, tongues-speaking, devil-channeling hellion to prove it.
  19. 50
    Muddled tale of faith and reason.
  20. While not especially good - judged strictly on its cinematic merits, it ranges from O.K. to god-awful - it is still a fascinating cultural document in the age of intelligent design.
  21. 50
    The script is a lifeless succession of attorney-client debates and stormy horror flashbacks, though I had a good time watching Jennifer Carpenter, a comic Buffy type in "White Chicks" and "D.E.B.S.," hurl herself around as the title character.
  22. I'm all for hearty theological debate. But this is intellectual suicide. Even worse, it's boring intellectual suicide.
  23. 40
    Simultaneously sober and silly horror picture.
  24. 40
    Creepy enough at first, this relatively gore-free film gradually becomes a stifling talk-fest in which superb actors drone on for so long about the nature of belief that one longs for a juror to spew a little pea soup.
  25. Derrickson's flick can sour your stomach with piety, which is a shame -- its moments of jolt wattage rate with many J-horrors.
  26. The dullest exorcist movie ever made.
  27. 38
    Unfortunately, nothing in it rings with the faintest tinkle of truth.
  28. 30
    Derrickson's staid direction, coupled with Wilkinson’s sad-sack priest and a general air of dreariness make for a courtroom thriller that’s somewhat less apocalyptic than the "L.A. Law" episode involving the death of Benny's mom.
  29. It has but one thing going for it: a cast filled with Oscar nominees.
  30. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    The acting in this movie is unusually bad--atrocious, even.
  31. 25
    Oh, how good actors can trap themselves in drivel.
  32. 25
    The fun of these movies is that Linney often seems too refined for such greasy junk, but there she is anyway, hamming it down as it were.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 93 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 51
  2. Negative: 9 out of 51
  1. Aug 30, 2013
    Perhaps best presented under the title, "Law & Order: Exorcism Victims Unit", would the film have attracted praise for being nothing more than what was to have been expected (utter boredom in a festering court melodrama of drivel.) Devoid of interesting characters, and featuring the most lacking of cinematography, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is actually The Exorcism of Your Time. Full Review »
  2. Jun 7, 2013
    Criminally underrated as both a horror film and courtroom drama. Fueled by some terrific lead performances from Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is one of the best of its kind. Recommended. Full Review »
  3. Nov 27, 2012
    Before I saw this film. I know it's based on a true story. So I know these can not be any too dramatic scene in this film. And I believe my guess is right. This film don't want to give a clear answer about the exist of God and Demon. The film just show the whole thing through the film and let US decide these issues. At the end of this film I believe the director hope that we all could have our beliefs back and love the whole world (not only religious stuff I think). Also the scary scene in this film can be ambiguous. You can not actually tell what happened the father and the actress is delusion or there is really ghost or demon in this world. After all, this is a great film. Full Review »