Thursday, June 8, 2017

THE SECRETS OF EMILY BLAIR (2016) [Joe's Review]

Emily Blair’s secrets are that she made out with her boss at her engagement party. And also she’s possessed by the devil.

The Secrets of Emily Blair continues the chilling exorcism movie title convention of “The (Something) of (So and So)”, which has taken on a fascinating life of its own. As far as I can tell, and after at least 16 minutes of internet research, the first “The Something of The Person/Place” movie was actually “A Haunting in Connecticut” which was a TV horror documentary that aired in 2002. 

From there, it went:
  • The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
  • The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008) – Presumably NOT in Connecticut.
  • The Haunting in Connecticut (2009) – It's the film of the film with almost the same name
  • The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (2013) – "These ghosts...are from Georgia!"
  • The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014) – No one tries to exorcise her, and she doesn’t have any secrets, but people take her to several different places throughout the film, so why not?
  • A Haunting at the Rectory (2015) – At the what?
  • The Exorcism of Molly Hartley (2015) – Stay tuned for 2018’s The Taking of Molly Hartley!
  • The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund (2016) – We’re definitely getting into random last name territory.
  • The Secrets of Emily Blair (2016) – Which we’ll get to
Don't you wonder why there was never a movie called simply “The Exorcism”? According to, there was going to be one in 2005, but it was never completed. One might ask what could have gone wrong, but looking at the above movies in this list, everything going wrong didn’t stop any of them from getting made so, I wonder what went right?

We will never know. Instead, let us turn our attention to what goes wrong with Emily Blair. I'm pretty sure the titular secret is that while the devil may wear Prada, she prefers...Fredericks of Hollywood!

Emily Blair spends most of the movie in lingerie, which kind of makes sense, since demonic possession seems like a solid reason to stay in your pajamas. It is weird though that in Emily Blair's spirit world she's wearing lingerie that she apparently doesn't own, because she never wears it anywhere else in the movie:

I get it, the point is just to have Ellen Hollman (Emily Blair) in lingerie all the time. But, when she's not getting her ass kicked by Lord Zedd in the forest of her soul, she's making hideous wheezing sounds through her mossy devil teeth. And neither of those situations are improved by lingerie. It's like they decided how she would be dressed before they even wrote the movie. Like an elaborate prank. On us all, really.

My favorite moment in the film comes when Emily's hapless boyfriend catches her scribbling "Bye bye" in blood on the bathroom mirror:

And he's like "That's IT! I'm calling a doctor!"

And she's like "You're not calling anyone!"

Oh man, how would the devil stop you from calling someone? Fill your mouth with worms? Pin you and sew your lips shut? Or maybe...just cause your cell phone battery to quickly drain?

And you just know she's already got HER phone plugged into the charger! Dammit! You win again, Satan!

In another scene, she's sitting there being all demonic, and he's like, "I made you a sandwich."

And then she's like "Awwwww, let's not fight! I've been a total B. I'm sorry."

It's like there's a domestic satire writing "Help Me" from the inside of this movie's exposed stomach. But alas, there is no The Helping of The Secrets of Emily Blair.

Questions for Paul:

JD: What would have been a better visual metaphor for Emily's struggle with the devil?

PH:  Ok, this may be difficult to convey, but I'm thinking of a close up of a baby's face superimposed over a devil costume, like the freaky baby-sun in Teletubbies.  He smiles when he's winning and cries when he's losing.  And then there could be a whole range of looks to convey more complicated situations, like when the devil makes Emily have sex with her boyfriend.  Is that a win for the devil?  The devil-baby could make one of those more obscure, maybe it's just gas, faces to convey that it isn't clear who is winning.

JD: Do you think the hobo was also wearing lingerie in the forest of his soul?

PH:  Your soul-forest costume is no one's business but your own.  That said, I would probably wear a big rubber demon suit in mine, and when I met the devil I'd try to convince him that I was the real devil and we were in his soul forest.

JD: Do you feed demonic possession and starve a cold?

PH:  I'd guess yes.  Little known fact: that irritability you feel when you're hungry is actually a minor demon possession.  You know this because the devil-baby in the sun would be cooing and drooling happily.

JD: Did she ever do anything cool?

PH:  What about when she punched a gun through the cop's abdomen and then shot the cop in the head from the inside?   That was something, at least.  And then there's the time when her fingers get really long and stretchy under the door jamb.  If she were thinking straight, she would have inflated her hand before she slapped her boyfriend in the face.  If you can grow monstrous elastic slappy hands, then use them!

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