Top Five Exorcism/Exorcist Movies

Top Five Exorcism Movies

I had one hell of a time trying to figure out how to tackle this list. What exactly constitutes an exorcism movie? Do I have enough for a top ten and if so once I get beyond five do I even care about the next five? It was not an easy process, and the idea only came to me because Lionsgate will be releasing The Last Exorcism in theaters starting this Friday.

It comes down to what exactly do you consider an "Exorcism Movie"? Does it have to include an exorcist or just some sort of an exorcism? When it comes to an exorcism just what exactly does that have to include? Can only people be possessed? Do houses count? I guess we'll see as my list walks the line between all of these questions and includes titles some of you may consider invalid...

Let's get started and see where things take us.

Dominion: A Prequel to The Exorcist (2005)
I considered Exorcist III for this spot, because much like Dominion, Exorcist III was better than its predecessor, but I felt this one was a notch above.

Dominion had a bit of a weird road to existence as this Paul Schrader prequel to the original Exorcist centering on the early days of Father Merrin (played here by Stellan Skarsgard) was never quite finished as Warner Bros. wasn't exactly pleased with the cut and brought in Renny Harlin to pretty much reshoot the whole thing.

Harlin's version was ultimately released in theaters as Exorcist: The Beginning in 2004 and it wasn't very good. Schrader's version is much darker, though it has its own problems. Many of the special effects were never quite finished and they some times came off as a bit cheesy. However, it is still a better film overall, but I think its placement here at #5 on my list pretty much goes to show just how lackluster this genre really is.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is basically a more dramatic (and better) version of The Last Exorcism. In fact, this movie is much better than The Last Exorcism and that isn't saying much. While this is a decent exorcism movie it never feels too "fresh," which I think is probably the reason not many of these films get made. Emily Rose, though, does have a pretty good performance from Jennifer Carpenter in her break-out role as the title character. Carpenter went on to star alongside Michael C. Hall in "Dexter" and scared audiences once again in Quarantine in 2008.

What's even freakier than this movie is the audio from the supposed "actual" exorcism of Annelise Michel of whom the film is based on. Give it a listen below.

  • Tamika Jones

    I absolutely agree with you, Brad. Exorcist II was a hot mess but why did you think that Constantine was a stretch?

    • Brad Brevet

      Because Constantine starts with an exorcism, but it's never really about that... I don't know, it just didn't seem to qualify in my eyes, but I love that movie.

  • Joel

    That recording was some scary shit Brad

  • Adriano

    The Exorcism of Emily Rose is severely underrated. It works as a horror movie and it works even more as a tribunal drama. It has also a powerful message about belief in religion. Plus, Jennifer Carpenter, Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson are all terrific.

  • Stephen

    That recording gave me the chills. Really spooky.

  • Ismal Ishak

    I love The Exorcism of Emily Rose. but yeah, maybe because it combines the courtroom drama! and Laura Linney is just demurely excellent in it.

    I watched Jennifer Carpenter first in Emily Rose, n then in White Chicks. In that scene where she was ranting of her fats in the changing room, really cracked me up. Make me wanna exorcise her! ;P

  • Gustavo


    • Katie

      Thank you for giving me something else to look for.

  • Danny King

    "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" was the first horror film I saw in theaters with friends. I remember I was more afraid of what I was hearing than what I was seeing. My hands spent more times over my ears than they did over my eyes. But since I'm such a big fan of Carpenter on "Dexter," I may have to rewatch it someday. Not alone, that's for sure.

    • Svdh54

      first one i saw was Insidious and believe me if i see this movie again i get instenly get goosebumps

  • maja

    I'd struggle to make a top 3 exorcist movie list let alone a top 5!
    The Exorcist would be the obvious choice in there, maybe House (the House is taken over by evil spirits if that counts), and probably Bettlejuice or Emily Rose.

  • Kyle Griffin

    How about "The Shining?"

    • Brad Brevet

      The Shining is just straight possession and paranoia, there is nothing to do with exorcism or exorcists whatsoever in that movie. Good movie though.

  • Toni from finland

    This one Should ABSOLUTELY be on the list...i bet you havenĀ“t seen this:

    • Brad Brevet

      Never seen it, I'll add it to my Netflix queue. Especially since it's on Instant Play. Thanks!

      • John W

        Requiem, a German movie, is based on the same case as "The Exorcism of Emily Rose", that of Annelise Michel, although it's more of a drama than a horror movie. It was pretty good in my opinion but just don't expect to see a horror movie.

    • Tim Painter

      You beat me to it - I was going to recommend this one as well. I believe this was also based on a true story too.

  • Henchoz

    It's good Brad but a cant help but feel you could have or maybe even should have included Fallen starring Mr Washington, it's a possession movie and a damn fine one at that and you get something you dont often get an unhappy ending! what do you think I would love to hear your views mate and keep up the excellent work :)

    • Brad Brevet

      I had Fallen on my list and I almost added it to the end of the piece, but just felt it didn't fit even less than those I mentioned. I agree though, that's a solid movie. There were a lot I was going to try and wedge in, but the list started to feel like it was getting away from me.

      • Henchoz

        Yeah fair comment Brad, I think you've exposed the total lack of quality in this genre besides the original nothing has really stood out, perhaps Bruce Willis in Cop Out because he must have been possessed by Satan himself to star in that movie lol, thanks for the reply and I just want to say the website is top class and thanks for all the hard work you clearly put in

  • Nick

    Damn that recording was scary

  • John W

    And now for the five worst:
    5. Beyond the Door
    4. Lisa and the Devil/House of Exorcism
    3. Abby
    2. Exorcist II: The Heretic
    1. Seytan

  • Dinsdale

    The third Exorcist is underrated. Great film!

  • Bernard

    Perhaps it stretches the definition of an exorcism movie a bit far, but J.A. Bayona's El Orfanato is superb.

  • Bobi

    My opinion is that there should be included the movie Possessed (TV 2000)with Timothy Dalton in a leading role.

  • Melody

    I can see that I've arrived at this party about a year late, a faux pas in polite society, but in the movie world it is a good thing. I can add The Rite with Anthony Hopkins and Season of the Witch with Nicholas Cage. (Not to be confused with the dreadful Halloween III: Season of the Witch)

  • Jason

    The Unborn is also an exorcism movie. The last scene features an exorcism to exorcise the unborn child spirit out of Odette's character.

  • Reuben

    The rite? It's a good one and thanks for the list

  • Svdh54

    what about The Rite,The last Exorcism and i can count Insidious to and there a 2 movies i haven't seen yet like possesion and reqium

  • Jenna

    Wow that's so scary i pray that never happens to me. Poor girl.

  • Pelle

    The YouTube clip scared the shit of me!!!

  • Ermosa

    I couldn't even finish watching that youtube clip, it scared the fuck out of me and usually stuff like that doesn't ! that shit gave me a weird ass feeling .. i ain't watching that shit no more!