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Recommended: My Best Friend's Exorcism on Amazon Prime Video

Gross, funny, and surprisingly heartfelt, this is a must-watch horror flick.
  • Elsie Fisher and Amiah Miller in My Best Friend's Exorcism (Photo: Prime Video)
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    My Best Friend's Exorcism | Amazon Prime Video
    Teen Horror Film | Rated R

    What's My Best Friend's Exorcism About?

    When nobody belives that her best friend Gretchen has been possessed by a demon, Abby turns to a Christian bodybuilder for help. 

    Who's involved?

    • Elise Fisher (Eighth Grade) is Abby, a shy 10th grader who's on scholarship at a fancy Christian high school. She typically looks up to Gretchen, so when Gretchen gets possessed, she has to find new parts of herself in order to save her.
    • Amiah Miller is Gretchen. She puts peer pressure on Abby now and then, but mostly, she's a great friend. That's why it's so surprising when she starts verbally accosting nuns and scrawling angry messages on her Trapper Keeper.
    • Chris Lowell (Promising Young Woman, GLOW) is Christian Lemon, who has a Christ-themed fitness program that he tours around high schools with his brothers. He also has "the gift of discernment," meaning that even when he's on stage pumping iron for the lord, he can spot a possessed teenager from a mile away.
    • The movie's written by Jenna Lamia, who was a writer-producer on Awkward, and it's based on a novel by Grady Hendrix, who's currently a big deal in the horror fiction world.
    • It's directed by Damon Thomas, who helmed tense and/or creepy episodes of Killing Eve and Penny Dreadful.

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    The first 20 minutes of My Best Friend's Exorcism are certainly promising, since they set up a world of teen girls in the 1980s who love Boy George, secretly crush on the hot priest at their school, and talk each other into visiting a creepy shack in the woods. When the latter inevitably leads to Gretchen's possession, horror fans may expect a straightforward addition to the possession genre.

    Then comes the scene where Gretchen is at lunch with her friends, looking like death warmed over. The other kids have noticed she's in rough shape and that she "smells like spit," but they're too busy with sex talk to really care. Until a doofus teenage boy gets especially raunchy, that is. In the midst of his stupid preening, Gretchen snaps, insults him, and then vomits all over him. 

    And it's not just a little vomit. It's a fountain. It's so bad that the boy getting puked on vainly tries to protect his polo shirt while screaming, "This is LaCoste!" 

    So much for typical. From that point forward, My Best Friend's Exorcism stands out as a dark, gross, and legitimately funny creepfest. As the demon takes hold of Gretchen, there are several other body horror moments, as well as some twisted story beats, and they all ride the line between disturbing and hilarious. This makes the movie feel just a little dangerous, like a kid who's excited to be inappropriate.

    Then there's this surprise: In the midst of the chaos, there's also time for genuine character development. We understand the contours of Abby and Gretchen's friendship, for instance, and how they're saving each other from different types of repression at home. That makes Abby's quest to save Gretchen feel specific, and it makes Gretchen's demon-fueled betrayals really sting. The scary moments are manifestations of general teenage anxieties —body image, awakening desire, etc.—but they're potent because they're inflicted on these particular girls.

    Christian Lemon, the religious bodybuilder, is the other standout. Both the writing and Lowell's giddy performance turn him from the standard "adult who helps scared teens" into a manic goofball who needs to load up on protein before he can hurl Morton salt at a demon child. Given his tracksuit, his tubular 80s slang, and his mommy issues, it's hard to imagine this delciously demented character existing in any other movie, but he's perfectly at home in this one. It's all the more reason to watch.

    Pairs well with

    • Ginger Snaps, the cult classic about two sisters whose lives are changed when one of them gets bitten by a werewolf. (Stream on Amazon Freevee.)
    • Yellowjackets, the Emmy-nominated Showtime drama that's also good at pulling terror from the lives of teenage girls.
    • The Fear Street trilogy, Netflix's wickedly fun films about a town that's been haunted for centuries on end. 

  • My Best Friend's Exorcism
    Premieres September 30 on Prime Video.
    Written by Jenna Lamia. Based on the novel by Grady Hendrix.
    Starring: Elsie Fisher, Amiah Miller, Chris Lowell, Cathy Ang, Rachel Ogechi Kanu, and Clayton Royal Johnson.
    Directed by: Damon Thomas.

    TOPICS: My Best Friend's Exorcism, Amazon Prime Video, Amiah Miller, Cathy Ang, Chris Lowell, Clayton Royal Johnson, Damon Thomas, Elsie Fisher, Jenna Lamia, Rachel Ogechi Kanu