Monday, July 3, 2023

My Best Friend's Exorcism (2022)

Streaming Service: Amazon Prime
Movie Name/Year: My Best Friend's Exorcism (2022)
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Length:  1h 36min
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Endeavor Content, Gotham Group, Amazon Prime Video
Director: Damon Thomas
Writers: Grady Hendrix, Jenna Lamia
Actors: Amiah Miller, Ashley LeConte Campbell, Cathy Ang, Chris Lowell, Clayton Royal Johnson, Cynthia Evans, Elsie Fisher, Erin Ownbey, Michael Wayne Foster, Nathan Anderson, Rachel Ogechi Kanu
Rotten Tomatoes Blurb: The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act...different. She's moody. She's irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she's nearby. Abby's investigation leads her to some startling discoveries-and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
Cat’s Point of View:
When My Best Friend’s Exorcism popped up on my radar in time for September 2022’s Top 20 article, I was fairly chomping at the bit to watch this movie. In fact, I did watch it pretty much right away when Amazon released it. I didn’t have any problems watching it again a second time as a refresher to bring you this review. 

I’ve probably said this a million times, and I’ll likely say it oodles more - I’m absolutely an 80s baby. While my teen years were solidly in the 90s, the 1980s is the era of warm fuzzy nostalgia for me. Yeah… I’ve dated myself, but it’s fine. My Best Friend’s Exorcism was set in 1988 and resonated with me as if it were a time capsule. 

Before I go further, I do feel that I need to advise that My Best Friend’s Exorcism is an adaptation of a book by Grady Hendrix (Mohawk, Satanic Panic, Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks). I haven’t read the book and, honestly, really didn’t realize it existed until I was pulling a few details together to provide this review. That being said, I’m unable to advise whether or not this production follows the source material closely or not - in spirit or otherwise. I can only offer my impression of the movie, itself. 

I realize that My Best Friend’s Exorcism isn’t going to be for everyone. It wasn’t made to be in contention for Oscars or festival prizes. It’s clearly a love letter to the 80s and the awkwardness of navigating the real-world horrors of school and friendship. This is definitely far removed from the “kids with bikes” type adventure, however. It’s best to toss out thoughts of something such as Stranger Things (2016-) and think more along the lines of Jennifer’s Body (2009).

I resonated with this film so hard that it was fairly uncomfortable even while I enjoyed it. I loved the Trapper Keepers, the silly teen magazine quizzes, and how it accurately captured the feel of slumber-party peer pressure. I was one of those sheltered awkward girls in the plaid school uniform. I often felt out of my depth with my peers that seemed to float effortlessly through that world. Of course, Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” was also absolutely my jam. 

My Best Friend’s Exorcism was a mixed bag of a little of everything. Some of it wasn’t as polished and cohesive, but it wasn’t anything serious enough to dim my enjoyment of the movie. The acting was solid, the effects were decent, and they nailed the setting. 

If you’re looking for some silly, if a little cringey, 80s campy horror fun, My Best Friend’s Exorcism wouldn’t be a bad choice. I would probably watch it again, myself. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 53%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 35%
Metascore – 58%
Metacritic User Score – 4.7/10
IMDB Score – 5.3/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5
Movie Trailer:

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