It’s hard to believe that Ouija boards first started appearing round 1891 as a sort of novelty toy and its perhaps that kids were disappearing into their bedrooms with their friends and emerging as satanically possessed vomit spewing demons that has led the AnyGoodFilms writers to believe that the Editor twin boys have one hidden in their own bedroom (‘You’re fired! – Ed) . At the centre of My Best Friends Exorcism is a ouija board which best buddies Abby (Elsie Fisher) & Gretchen (Amiah Miller) finds themselves playing with in a sleepover at the summer house of Glee (Cathy Ang) and Margaret’s (Rachel Ogechi Kanu) parents summer house. So when Gretchen and Abby go exploring around the house and into the basement what they find is not their friends fathers hidden stash of Razzle but a staring blinking eye amongst the mess that possesses Gretchen and sees her behaviour markedly changing that results in her wilfully putting her friends in danger.
Set in 1988 this sets its era through the use of the pop music of the day with A-ha, Tiffany and Culture Club on the soundtrack along with Gretchen’s big frizzy hair and into the nix is thrown her straight laced virtuous parents and a trio of evangelical Christian bodybuilders, The Lemon Brothers – in fairness their high school outreach proselytizing projects is enough to make you wince. It’s all in direct contrast to Gretchen’s demonic possession that sees her alienate her friend Abby, steal Margaret’s boyfriend and risk Cathy life via her nut allergy – something that we used to do in school with another lad who suffered from such an allergy and we made him play Russian Roulette with a bag of Revels…. but we digress. But My Best friends Exorcism does what is says on the tin and it’s Abby who battles to save Gretchen and their friendship when she realizes the possession has taken hold and when the demon does appear it looks like Dobie the house elf’s vomit covered brother.
Based on a book by Grady Hendrix the film starts off as an almost John Hughes like teen drama with a sapphic undertow that is never really explored but used more as a device for alienation and name calling. But it soon veers into horror territory with a number of moments lifted from The Exorcist notably the sort of projectile vomiting not seen since the unexpected delivery of Gemma Collins swim wear catalogue at our office. My Best Friend’s Exorcism never really commits to a truly effective level of supernatural spookiness never able to leave the levity behind making the narrative uneven in tone.
Watch the trailer HERE