Halloween season has started and some interesting films have come out from other studios and streaming services. This time out it’s Amazon’s turn to add their entry into this season of spooky and scary movies. My Best Friend’s Exorcism is another film in the teen horror genre but it’s also a period piece set in the 80s. It mixes a few interesting horror tropes to create an engaging exorcism film.
Abbey (Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade) Gretchen (Amiah Miller) Margaret (Rachel Ogechi Kanu), and Glee (Kathy Ang) are best friends in high school. They all are trying to balance their grades, boys, and their personal lives in school. After a retreat at a secluded cabin by a lake in the woods, a demon takes the soul of one of them, the others have to figure out a way to exorcize this demon, out one of their friends before it kills them all first.
This film is a dark satire on horror films as well as teen comedies. It goes all in on all the tropes that go along with these types of films. The whole teen thing where girls and boys pick on each other for various reasons is a main thread in the film. Kids can be very malicious to one another when they feel threatened by their peers. Their looks and or personality can be a triggering effect for others to pick on them. It’s a coming-of-age film one oh one. Except this is a take on those types of films. Add in the exorcism subgenre of horror and you have quite a trip of a film.
The 80s are a huge part of this movie and its charm and wit. Right off the bat, the soundtrack kicks in with A-ha’s Take On Me and later uses Boy George’s Karma Chameleon. The cars, specifically a Pinto driven by Fisher’s character, the clothes acid washed jeans, and the hairstyles feathered back wavy hairdos synonymous with this decade are littered throughout the film to give it an authentic 80s vibe. I felt the nostalgia of having grown up in that decade myself.
The director, Damon Thomas, and the writers, Jenna Lania and Grady Hendrix infuse this movie with their touches to make it enjoyable for teen audiences as well as adults who have the feels for the 80s as I do. It has a tongue-in-cheek feel to not get too serious with the horror or teen angst. Besides Fisher, I didn’t know of any of these actors before seeing the film. The filmmakers did a good job casting all of the characters in the movie. It was a bit of a trip down memory lane for me.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism was a fun romp. It brought me back to a time when I enjoyed my life watching campy 80s films and listening to the music of that decade. Throw in the horror aspects and you have a nice mash-up of a coming-of-age film with an exorcism film. The acting from all the main girls was fine with Fisher and Miller as the standouts. This movie wasn’t trying to be anything serious or do anything groundbreaking but it was a fun harmless film that should garner plenty of viewership from younger audiences on Amazon Prime. Maybe they can get their families to watch it with them.
3 ½ stars
Dan Skip Allen