Refreshingly, this movie was not just a montage of a person's possession by demons complete with a spinning head and lots of vomitting as some of the exorcism movies like to focus on. This movie had a good plot and provided only disturbing snippets of the main character being possessed. The majority of the film took place inside of a courtroom where a priest was being tried for the negligent homicide of Emily Rose.
I don't see how the priest could be charged in this case because Emily was an adult who made her own decisions. I also didn't understand how her parents wouldn't be tried if the priest could be since she was living at home at the time of her death. Nonetheless, the prosecution rested on the idea that the priest had advised Emily to stop taking medicine that she needed to fight what they viewed as epilepsy, and this advice led directly to her death.
The arguments made by both sides were well-structured and interesting. I enjoyed that the case was believable and the tactics by both parties could have worked no matter what case was being tried. I won't get into the religious aspect because I don't understand how a loving God would want anyone to suffer the way that Emily had, which was implied by the movie and the priest's insistence on telling Emily's story so others would believe in the devil.
I do concede that this is the most intelligent horror movie I have ever seen, and I enjoyed it as much I could ever enjoy watching something that is sure to give me nightmares. Scott Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman collaborated to create the screenplay loosely based on the real-life events that Anneliese Michel's experienced. I appreciated reports that Derrickson, who also directed the film, chose to work with people of varying faith to give the film both appealing arguments for and against the belief in God. His commitment led to a film that could be interpreted either way, especially with the controversial verdict passed down from the jury.