After the death of their child and experiencing some financial problems, married couple Mitch and Diane move into the house which belonged to his late Uncle Alexander in Steve (Hellriser, Survival Instinct) Lawson’s latest chiller.
Uncle Alexander liked dabbling in the occult which displeased Mitch’s mother greatly as she was and still is extremely religious. Estranged from the family, Alexander’s name was barely mentioned and to make things worse Mitch’s sister Karen was allegedly abused by him. Due to this Karen has spent many years in a mental hospital. When exploring the house, Mitch stumbles upon a camera which apparently captures your ‘aura’. Mitch remembers his being taken as a child and finds it but is disturbed when seeing his sister’s picture and is determined to get answers to this age old family rift which involves contacting a psychic who knows more than she’s letting on.
A low key and slow burning genre picture, The film keeps chugging along to its expletive filled climax which certainly pays homage to plenty of possession pictures released over the years. However, it’s not just another cheap Exorcist rip-off, the film has a lot of good qualities to it especially the development of the story which manages to blend in religion, psychic stuff (tarot cards, etc.) and evil genies, sorry djinns. The film makers have assembled a small but capable cast which take the material seriously and at no point does anyone ‘camp it up’ which can often happen in films of this nature. Shame we didn’t see more of Steve Dolton who is obviously Lawson’s ‘go to’ guy i.e. DeNiro to his Scorsese.
Personally I think the whole film has a ‘Hammer House of Horror’ TV show kind of vibe to it. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it’s just feels so incredibly and brilliantly British (there’s a Sky dish on the side of the house) although set in America. That’s not to say it looks and feels like a cheap TV movie, it doesn’t as Lawson is a master at making films look far more expensive than they are.
The movie also looks good and has an effective synth score which creeply plays along in the background adding some nice atmosphere. Overall, The Exorcism of Karen Walker is an enjoyable piece of genre cinema which importantly ticks all the right boxes.
- Starring Shane Taylor Denise Moreno Janine Nerissa Sothcott Rula Lenska
- Director Steve Lawson