Yesterday evening at Wizard World comic con in Chicago, Bruce Campbell's Horror Fest premiered (first time in the U.S.) the Spanish film, “Asmodexia”. Billed as a five day chronicling of an exorcist and his granddaughter performing rituals in the Barcelona area, this was a bit worrisome. Lately, any film with “exorcist” in the synopsis is met with a groan. But in the first two minutes, director Marc Carreté demands your attention with striking visuals. The exorcist, Eloy de Palma, is forcing a young woman to witness a possessed woman giving birth. The fetus is unseen but causes the young woman to scream.
Fifteen years pass and we see Eloy walking with a girl around fifteen named Alba, meaning “dawn”. She seems normal and sweet and is referred to as his granddaughter. She has grown up in the family business and appears to be quite gifted in that area. The film follows these two as they travel on foot, performing exorcisms, and encountering other crazy stuff. The young woman from the opening, Ona, has been in a psychiatric ward for the past fifteen years. The other patients all regard her as crazy and that is certainly how she appears.
As Eloy and Alba are curing the ails of the suffering, there is a general rise in supernatural activity in the area with a great deal concentrated in the hospital. It certainly does appear that Ona could be part of the cause. Her sister Diana, a detective, has seen the aftermath of the phenomena and is starting to believe that Ona was right about something, presumably a darkness rising. Diana begins to watch and an old family video from fifteen years ago which contains herself, Ona, their other sister Luna (the possessed woman giving birth), and Eloy. She sobs knowing that something isn't quite right.
A creepy, minimalist score is provided by Jordi Dalmau. Largely only using a piano or keyboard, he accents the entire piece perfectly. Cinematographer Xavi Garriga accentuates the natural colors of each environment. The outside locals are all very warm yellows and oranges while the inside of the psych ward is bluish and muted. The film keeps the viewer engaged with intense emotion (given in spades by Irene Montalà, who plays Ona) and a lot to think about. Pieces are laid out and it's up to us to put them together but we can't before all is revealed in the unforgettable final ten minutes that can leave you gasping.
The film will be available in the U.S. on Video on Demand platforms beginning September 26.