Part stuffy courtroom drama, part bowel-loosening spooker, frustratingly, this US hit fails to gel. Based on a '70s German case, it has priest Tom Wilkinson in the dock for negligent homicide after college freshman Emily (Jennifer Carpenter) pegs it during an attempted exorcism. Was she possessed? Or did she just have epilepsy? Since it's obvious which way the filmmakers want you to swing, any gripping trial goes out the window.
Shame, really, because the scares are top drawer. Sure, there's the odd steal from The Exorcist, but first-timer Scott Derrickson knows how to wrangle a demon-faced jolt. And if the nasties don't ice your blood then the wintry visuals will. A quality turn, too, from Laura Linney (agnostic defence), but it really only layers varnish on TV-movie schlock. Desperate for jumps, then give it a shot, but it won't put your head in a spin.