Exorcism in Utero (2023) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Exorcism in Utero (2023) Review

Horrorific content by christina on June 20th, 2023 | Movie Review | Possession, Supernatural, Exorcism, Religion, Pregnancy, B-Horror

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It's about a pregnant woman who discovers a cursed ring and becomes possessed.

Exorcism in Utero was directed by Erik Skybak and stars Allegra SweeneyCalvin Morie McCarthyNeil Green, and Sam Bangs.

Exorcism in Utero Review

Pregnancy is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful times of a woman's life. But with all that joy comes the fear of being possessed by some unknown entity during this period too. Possession during pregnancy has been a longstanding concern among pregnant women throughout the ages. The fear of being taken over by some spirit or force is deeply entrenched in many cultures and societies worldwide. It could stem from superstition or folklore in some places, while, in other cases, it may be linked to medical health concerns.

The fear can manifest as not having complete control over one's body or mind. For instance, sometimes women feel like they are being taken over by a powerful force which leads to dizziness or headaches. Additionally, such fears can be more extreme and lead to feelings of doom and terror about what might be happening inside them and whether they are still themselves. This fear of being possessed can cause discomfort due to uncertainty and unease and lead to difficulty sleeping because any movement or disturbance might seem like it will cause possession to occur. In his directorial debut, however, Erik Skybak presents the intriguing film "Exorcism In Utero," which details precisely this process.

The story revolves around Herma Frigg (played by Sam Bangs), a young pregnant woman who, fresh out of a problematic relationship, seizes the opportunity to house-sit for the profoundly religious Johnson family. The Johnsons are leaving for a couple of weeks to engage in missionary work, and the complimentary accommodations give Herma a chance to unwind and find a new place to live.

Next door to the Johnsons resides the O'Neill family, who are significantly less religious. The family includes the comical father, Frank (Steve Larkin), the mother, Debra (Stephanie Leet), their daughter, Ally (Allegra Sweeney), and the youngest sibling, Peter (Leonard Hoge), a passionate horror film enthusiast with fiery red hair. Peter has been secretly observing the Johnsons and suspects something sinister is happening in their basement. Herma confirms his suspicions when she ventures into the forbidden basement, which feels like a trap, and discovers a disturbing secret involving captive women and the birth of babies. During her exploration, Herma unwittingly wears a devilish ring that becomes stuck on her finger, accelerating her pregnancy, causing excruciating pain, and transforming into a hollow version of herself (remarkably portrayed through impressive makeup effects).

Haunted from within, Herma experiences horrifying nightmares and occasionally sleepwalks into the O'Neills' house. She often ends up in Peter's room, initially startling him but eventually leading to a bond between them. Peter's extensive knowledge of horror enables him to be less afraid and more capable of assisting. At some point, Father Bresson (Calvin Morie McCarthy), a priest, arrives to guide this impromptu exorcism, aiming to save Herma and her baby by expelling the literal demon within her, which turns out to be more than anyone anticipated.

Worth Watching?

The scary elements in "Exorcism In Utero" don't quite deliver the desired chills, and although the film may be categorized as a horror-comedy, it also falls short in humor. Nevertheless, the standout performances by Bangs, Sweeney, and Leet, who portrays a character with an understanding of the nightmarish ordeal Herma endures, provide some notable moments. However, a significant portion of the film veers into exaggerated or overly silly territory, resulting in an overall production that needs a cohesive tone. The filmmaker's attempts to establish Peter as a hardcore horror film enthusiast, complete with overt references to "The Evil Dead" and John Carpenter's "The Thing," feel forced and elicited a cringe-worthy reaction from me. While I appreciate the effort, Skybak must delve deeper into his themes in future projects to pique my genuine interest. Nonetheless, I remain curious about what he has in store for us next, provided he becomes more audacious in his approach.

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