Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes Movie Review
DVD released by The Asylum
Written and directed by Jude Gerard Prest
90 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on March 1st, 2011
Gerold Wunstel as Pastor Ernest Alt
Kai Cofer as Dr. Frederick Gruber
Yaz Canli as Sandy
Robert Shampain as Dr. Kenneth Landers
Korey Simeone as Steve Parker
Annette Remter as Anna Michel
Nicole Muller as Anneliese Michel
Christopher Karl Johnson as Father Renz
Asylum Home Entertainment, the proud creators of such cinematic rip-offs like Transmorphers, Snakes On A Train, Almighty Thor, and Sunday School Musical bring you their take on the exorcism genre with Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes. Despite the initial claim that this is real footage recovered from government officials, anyone with half a brain will realize within 30 seconds that this is not authentic video of Anneliese Michel and the tragic events surrounding her demise in 1976 Germany.
“Found footage” horror films, if done properly, can be incredibly scary. If done poorly then they can be a downright chore to watch. Unfortunately this particular offering leans more towards the latter. In Asylum’s defense, I will concede that this has less to do with the actual production and more to the very topic itself. I’m sorry, but exorcism movies are generally pretty boring. The majority of people will tell you that The Exorcist is the scariest movie of all time until they actually sit down and watch (or re-watch) it. Half the time movies dealing with demonic possession and exorcisms are spent with a young girl in a full-length nightgown grunting and writhing on a bed, with that one obligatory jarring spider-walk down the stairs, occasional rumbling Sealy Posturepedic, and multiple outbursts of vulgar profanity. The other half is filled with long-winded bickering and diatribes between the various religious and medical groups called in to solve the problem. Yawn.
Interspersed throughout this film are short snippets of actual audio recordings of the real Anneliese Michel that are far more disturbing than anything put forth visually. FYI, these legitimate audio tracks can be readily found on YouTube for free. Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes is basically shot using two different visual styles, each presumably originating from a different handheld camera. The only one that is even remotely effective is the grainy black and white footage. This method adds a layer of creepiness sorely missing from the remainder of the film and is unfortunately employed far too sparingly. The other, more predominant visual style makes the “real footage” resemble a bad Skinamax softcore porno, without the porn. It’s a shame the entire thing wasn’t shot in black and white as they might have been able to fool a few dimwits into thinking this was all legit. Maybe.
Based on numerous customer reviews off Amazon, it appears that many felt quite swindled thinking that they were going to see true archival footage of a young girl in the throws of demonic possession. Now, one can look at this two ways: A) Asylum’s marketing department is effectively shrewd, or B) there are plenty of gullible meat-puppets out there who don’t know what type of outfit Asylum really is. The answer of course is C) a bit of both.
Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes isn’t particularly bad… it’s just boring. It’s akin to suffering through someone’s tedious home movie where a bunch of dullards sit around mugging for the camera while a deranged German girl lurks in the background biting a chunk out of a dead bird, drinking her own urine, and attempting to rape a priest (oh, the irony!).
Video, Audio and Special Features:
As this was a screener I won’t elaborate on the audio or video, but it is shot in fullscreen, likely to perpetuate the farce that this is all authentic 1970’s footage. The only extra is a short mockumentary that tries to sell you on the idea that this film is indeed legit. It fails.