Film Review: The Completely Ridiculous ‘Exorcism in Utero’

The ridiculous title may make you think it is a mess. Yes it is.

Take equal parts Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and It’s Alive and then drive a Mack truck through the storylines. Then you might get close.

As absurd as the title and premise of this film is, it certainly lives up to its expectations.

It begins with Herma Frigg (Sam Bangs), a pregnant young woman fleeing from her abusive ex-boyfriend. Sidebar: is Herma Frigg the pseudonym or is Sam Bangs? The world may never know.

She winds up in a typically pleasant suburban neighborhood and agrees to house-sit for neighbors she met at church just recently. Never mind that they’re off kilter and the kid next door gives her the old peep peep through his bedroom window every night. I can’t put my finger on it. Yes I can! Roman and Minnie! The husband, who seems a little too fond of her, shows her where everything is, including the cursed cellar. He warns her to never, ever go down there.

But then he shows her where the key is.

After they leave, she grabs the key, scrambles downstairs, only to find a BDSM chamber, complete with chains and handcuffs…and a grubby mattress. Instead of screaming in horror, she smiles happily and takes off her jacket to stay a while. Even when she uncorks a vial billowing sinister smoke and finds a weird ring inside…she puts it on. And she can’t take the damn thing off. It makes her feel weird. And makes her puke. A lot.

Here’s the weird part. It’s like a mood ring for her, but it’s a puke ring on occasion.

The next-door neighbors with the voyeur in training also take a liking to her (cue more Rosemary’s Baby) and invite her to a bacon dinner. Bacon? Since none of this absurdity is surprising, she’s down with that.

The neighbors’ preteen son, who is a front runner for the Peter Bark disturbing child lookalike contest, has been watching her through his bedroom window across the way. And his facial expressions don’t give us a clue about what he’s feeling. Sometimes it looks like he’s aroused, and other times it looks like he’s gonna be sick.

Anyhow, during the bacon dinner, he suddenly bites off one of his fingers. Herma screams, “No! Don’t eat that!” But his parents grunt appreciatively while eating their…bacon.

At this point, you know these weirdos are setting up Herma for a demonic birth, and indeed they do. Take the birth as rote, what with its flying demon umbilical cords and It’s Alive baby menacing the cast.

Director Erik Skybak’s choices make no sense. Herma’s possession ends up with her looking as she’s been covered in clay and all dried out. And individual actors seem to have been directed from different planets. Some looked glazed over, while others seem in touch with the moment. Are they laughing or frightened? Did they read the script? Was there a script?

Voices from the Balcony was far more charitable with this mess than I was. And he did mention that with the right edibles, it could be a hoot…and I agree.

Exorcism in Utero will be available on May 23 in various platforms.

Kurt Gardner


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