Based on the 2016 horror novel of the same name by Grady Hendrix comes Amazon Prime Video original movie?My Best Friend’s Exorcism.?The Gotham Group, Quirk Productions, and Fifth Season all worked on the film, distributed by Amazon Studios, with Killing Eve and Penny Dreadful’s Damon Thomas stepping in as director.?The ensemble cast includes Elsie Fisher, Amiah Miller, Cathy Ang, and Rachel Ogechi Kanu, but is the movie any good?
Girls just wanna have fun
My Best Friend’s Exorcism opens with an immediate ’80s vibe. Teenage best friends Abby (Fisher) and Gretchen (Miller) spend their days taking quizzes from their favorite girly magazines, talking about boys and their unattainable crushes, and listening to Culture Club. Abby’s family is laid back and more modern, while Gretchen’s is super religious and organized. The kids never leave the house without piling on the makeup and using half a can of hairspray,?before meeting up with their other two close friends Glee (Ang) and Margaret (Kanu) at high school. They are living the typical American life of young girls right on the precipice of moving into womanhood.
When the weekend creeps up, the group decides to head to a family home of Margaret’s in nearby woodland. It’s creepy and located right near an abandoned lodge that is rumored to have bore witness to satanic ritual, but that stuff is all urban legend, right? Even so, it’s always a bad idea to taunt the paranormal, and that’s exactly what happens when the girls decide to pull out a Ouija board. They start to get a message from the other side, Margaret’s a-hole jock boyfriend turns up and encourages everybody to take acid, and to cut a long story short, Gretchen ends up being possessed by a demonic entity. What follows is a struggle for Abby to find help not just for her friend, but for everybody around her who is now left in danger.
At its heart, My Best Friend’s Exorcism is a horror, but the creative team has done an incredible job of balancing the scares with silly, camp humor. It’s a trope that many horror classics have laid the foundations for in the past, and the film follows that trend extremely well. For the most part, the writing is top tier. There are however a handful of moments where decisions made by some of the leading characters come completely out of left field; such is the challenge of turning a 300+ page novel into a condensed 90-minute feature.
The film’s ending is a conclusive one. Many horror films of recent years have fallen into the trap of twisting and turning just for the sake of shocking their audience, but not here. What you get instead is a decisive finish, allowing you to come away after watching with clarity. For that, the movie has to be celebrated.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism review: The final verdict
With My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Prime Video has delivered a dose of camp, nostalgic ’80s horror. The cast is stellar, giving some of the modern era’s finest horror performances thanks to both their talent and the slick yet sometimes cheesy writing of?Jenna Lamia. While the film likely won’t become a true staple of the genre and something that audiences come back to time and again when Halloween rolls back around, it’s certainly worth the watch for both hardcore horror junkies, and those who are casual fans.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism is streaming now, exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.