Requiem (12)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner31/10/2006

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

Based on the same story as The Exorcism of Emily Rose, this is a far more accurate and ultimately much more frightening version of events, with an award-winning performance from Huller.

What's it all about?
Based on a true story and set in 1970s Germany, Requiem stars Sandra Huller as 21 year-old Michaela, who has struggled with epilepsy all her life, but finally feels in control enough to venture out to university. Her deeply religious mother (Imogen Kogge) is against the idea, but her father (Burghart Klaussner) supports her and things seem to go well as she befriends a girl from her home town (Anna Blomeier) and gets her very first boyfriend (Nicholas Reinke).

However, Michaela's happiness is short-lived, as the attacks return, only this time they seem to involve demonic voices and a paralysing force that stops Michaela from being able to pray. Opinion is divided over the cause of the attacks and two opposing priests (Jens Harzer and Walter Schmidinger) argue over whether Michaela needs psychoanalysis or an exorcism.

The Good
Sandra Huller deservedly won the Berlin Film Festival's Silver Bear for her raw, naturalistic performance as Michaela. The joy she feels at her first kiss is beautifully acted, while her attacks and her subsequent withdrawal are devastating to watch.

The supporting cast are equally good, particularly Blomeier, whose gradual acceptance of Michaela is subtly moving. The script is excellent too, because we really root for Michaela to find happiness, even if we know how the story ends.

The Great
It's fascinating to compare this gritty, realistic version of the story with Hollywood's treatment of the same source material. Where The Exorcism of Emily Rose is all flashy courtroom drama and badly executed horror scenes in which we don't learn anything about Emily herself, Requiem's low-key approach is all the more horrifying because we really get to know and care about Michaela.

Worth seeing?
Brilliantly directed, superbly acted and genuinely frightening horror. Recommended.

Film Trailer

Requiem (12)
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Content updated: 21/07/2018 01:05

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