Directed by Marc Carrete
Distributed by IFC Midnight
I had almost given up hope on the interminable sinking ship of “possession and exorcism” films that have surrounded the horror aficionado as of the last few years and have begun to strangle us with their less-than-frightening depictions of Satanic overtakings (yawn). In my completely dysfunctional opinion, The Exorcist is and forever will be the benchmark for possession films, no argument about it, and any other movie that attempts to piggyback its creative refinement is sorely mistaken.
With that being said, let’s move on to a film that has (slightly) restored my faith in the demonic soul-stealing category of movie-making.
Director Marc Carrete, who before had only worked on short films, now takes the full-feature jump into the deep end with Asmodexia, a film about a man (Marco) named Eloy de Palma, who back in the day used to preside over an oddball sect-like group of holy worshipers and now travels around Barcelona, Spain, with his granddaughter, Alba (Pons), attempting to rid different helpless souls of the Satanic evil that has overcome them. He believes this to be the work of the Devil himself, and the afflicted are merely those who have not given their all to the man upstairs. While many of his works are successful to some degree, he relies heavily on the aid of his granddaughter, as she seems to have a special gift for dealing with these tormented individuals.
All of the previously mentioned instances are also set against the backdrop of the predicted (however failed) Mayan apocalypse of 2012, and it looks as if the possession problem has manifested into a sort of virus, literally affecting people down the line for miles and miles. The area, which normally has cooler than cool temps at the particular time of year (December), is heating up at a record pace, seemingly frying everyone in sight, whether it be on a street corner or in the bowels of a mental institution. As the end of days draws closer, the threat of a complete uprising of infernal entities is beginning to seem like a reality, and Eloy uses tactics that he’d thought he’d never have to employ in order to cease the sinister ushering in of a new day.
The film at times gets stuck in the mud, and its plot has the tendency to stray into uncharted (and confusing) territory, but it’s not long before we are dawn to a conclusion that will shock and surprise many of its watchers. It’s not an overly scary movie – there are some decent makeup jobs that warrant a little shake – but the premise will chill you to the bone. When all is said and done and the credits have rolled, Asmodexia completes its rather short 81-minute jaunt like a professional and delivers the goods for fans of apocalyptic-themed photoplay.