Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Exorcism Files Haunted Boy Review

Runtime: 88 minutes
Release Date: October 1, 2010
Rating: NR
Director: Christopher Saint Booth, Philip Adrian Booth

This documentary is the perfect example of why you should never read the description on Redbox without finding out more about a film. Described as a documentary about the true story of The Exorcist, Redbox described it more as a found footage movie that deals with that story. I didn't really get either thing.

The Exorcism Files: Haunted Boy is a documentary from The Booth Brothers that should have been more interesting than it was. The author of the book drew inspiration from a case he read about in the local paper. Hoping to keep the identity of "Robbie Doe," as he was known at the time, William Peter Blatty agreed to change the character in his book into that of a little girl.

While researching an idea for a book, I wrote about a local college that is supposedly haunted because some of the artifacts used in the actual exorcism were stored there. Writing that article led to more research into the true story and some info on both the book and film. All that information was fresh in my head when I sat down to watch this movie, which might have tainted my experience a little.

The original boy is still alive, but he naturally doesn't want to talk about his experiences. The filmmakers then went to one of his relatives to get an idea about what he went through. They also tracked down archival footage from priests involved in the case and some who knew the original priests. That gave the documentary a "he said, she said" sense that left me wondering what was true. I can tell you what so and so said to me on camera, but does that mean I'm telling the truth?

They also try way too hard to make a connection between the actual case and the hauntings in the area. The former hospital where Doe once stayed was torn down. They talk to men who saw or moved some of the furniture that he used, and they all claim that they felt weird things and saw strange shit. They also talk to some of the people involved with the demolition of the hospital, who also say his former room was haunted. Plus, we get to see a big crack in the parking lot, which is supposedly the same spot where his former room was.

Even more ridiculous is the in-depth exploration of the house where Doe once lived. The owner of the house bought it because it was "the exorcist house," so you know anything he experienced there is tainted. It doesn't help that he basically cleaned out Doe's former room and doesn't use it for anything. A completely empty room in the middle of a big house? Yup, that wouldn't seem creepy at all.

At one point, my roommate checked, saw there was still 40+ minutes left, and threatened to live the room if I made him watch anymore. Sadly, we stuck it out. I would recommend it for those interested in learning more about the true story, but that explains my roommate and he barely made it through.

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