Starring Meera, Kavita Radheshyam, Nirab Hossain, Baby Tasmiya
Directed by Faisal Saif
It was only a few days ago that we shared the poster and trailer for the recently released exorcism flick Islamic Exorcist from writer-director Faisal Saif. Now, I don’t know about you, but after checking out the trailer and poster, I felt the need to view the movie for myself. If only to see if the film was as interesting a take on the tired exorcism sub-genre as it looked to be. One way or the other. And after checking out the film – which you can find on Amazon Video now – I can say it was not a waste of time by any means.
Islamic Exorcist follows Natasha Choudhary, a journalist (played by the stunning Meera) whose younger brother is currently locked away in a hospital in the throes of (possible) demonic possession. In a last-ditch effort to find someone who can help when all of the doctors are clueless, Natasha visits the home of Ayesha Khan (played by Kavita Radheshyam), a housewife who recently had an intense brush with possession herself.
Turns out this Ayesha and her husband, Sameer (played by Nirab Hossain), found out a few months back that they were unable to conceive a child. This put a strain on the couple’s relationship, and in an attempt to find a bit of happiness, the two turned to adoption. However, after adopting a nine-year-old girl named Anna (played by Baby Tasmiya), it quickly becomes all too apparent that the little girl has something sinister inside her. Something evil. Something that will tear Ayesha and Sameer’s marriage apart.
From this simple initial setup, the film plays out as a series of flashbacks depicting Ayesha dealing with her possessed child, while also attempting to navigate the minefield of a crumbling marriage and live-in in-laws. Personally, out of those three issues, I don’t know which is scarier in my book. All these spinning plates of plot, however, quickly become more and more surreal as it becomes clear that the Ayesha’s story might not have played out the way she says… and there may be something darker at play here…
What I found most interesting about the film overall was the all-new religious perspective on this much-visited sub-genre. Like many of you out there, I have seen far too many exorcism movies; and in almost every single one of these films, the context of the possession is always from a Christian or Catholic point of view. God, the devil, Lucifer, Satan, all of these elements come into play in Islamic Excorist, sure; but there is an added quality in viewing all of this from a completely new religious standpoint. Here you will find no priests, no churches, no crucifixes. Instead, the film shows us the effects of Shia Muslim culture vs. demonic possession. Very interesting indeed.
On the dull side of the blade, the film is super low-budget, and more than a few of the scares come across as a bit more silly than scary. But that said, the love for the genre was ever present. I can forgive filmmakers limited to a non-existent budget if their hearts are in the right place. And writer-director Faisal Saif’s heart – and simmering talent – was definitely in the right place. The directing was tight and the acting was adequate, but the real winner here was Saif’s screenplay. The script had more than its fair share to say not only the subject of demon possession and exorcism, but on the subjects of mental health, marriage, and adoption to boot – plenty to chew on after the credits rolled.
On top of that, the film does have a quite a few instances of cultural difference that took me out of it a bit – such as a scene where a character smokes a cigarette and a super-imposed title card appears reading (verbatim) “Cigarette Smoking is Injurious to Health.” Hurm. Interesting. Not only in the choice of words but in the title card’s presence in the first place. Maybe Islamic films need to paste those kinds of warnings on their films? Call me a dumb American, but I didn’t know this.
Anyhow, cultural differences are to be expected and only served as an interesting backdrop for this guy. After all, not every film can desperately attempt to appeal to a wide North American audience, so fair enough.
Overall, Islamic Exorcist is a super low-budget effort that makes up for its financial shortcomings with a clever twisting, turning script and an underlying message about the power of marriage when faced with severe mental decay.
If you can take a bit of silly with your scary, I’d suggest checking out the film. If only to support talented low-budget filmmakers with an obvious passion for our beloved genre. If this film had been made with a 5-million-dollar budget by Jason Blum, people would speak of how intense and clever it was. As a low-budget Islamic flick, people may err on the side of poking fun at it. Don’t be that guy.
In the end, Islamic Exorcist is a clever twist on the old exorcism film. A super low-budget one, sure, but one that shows us the sub-genre from an all-new perspective and boasts one hell of a twist that I didn’t see coming. Give it a go and show your support to writer-director Faisal Saif, who may soon be a name to watch out for. Mark my words.
Islamic Exorcist is now available on Amazon Video.
While the film suffers from an extremely low budget, writer-director Fasil Saif’s Islamic Exorcist brings a fresh perspective – and a solid twist – to the tired exorcism/possession subgenre.
- virgo02 I really liked the movie when it came out and I still do. I just watched it the other day. I still can't believe they took away the sibling part of the movie. That too me made it more suspenseful. The...
- Nick Greeley Nice clickbait. It’s OLD news that H20 started as a passion project for her, but everything fell apart when Carpenter and Hill didn’t come back, and Moustapha Akkad refused to let the writers kill...
- Mackey Would be awesome if Amazon or Netflix could save "The Exorcist" too
- One-Eye I remember it as being one of the better post SCREAM slasher movies. I certainly haven't watched it since then.
- One-Eye I kind of dig how Osment is just like "Yeah, I'm fat and have a big, bushy beard. And that's how I'm gonna stay now..."
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