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FrightFest 2021: The Exorcism of Carmen Farias Is an Atmospheric Treat

I’m always up for a good demon movie. Whether it’s the old classics like The Exorcist and The Omen or newer gems like The Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Dark and the Wicked, these are some of my absolute favorite horror films to watch over and over again, so when I got the chance to check out The Exorcism of Carmen Farias, I jumped at it. I was excited to see a new entry in one of my favorite subgenres, and I have to say, by the time the credits rolled, I was pretty satisfied.

Directed by Rodrigo Fiallega, The Exorcism of Carmen Farias stars Camila Sodi, Juan Pablo Castañeda, and Juan Carlos Colombo. It’s about a woman named Carmen Farias whose mother has recently passed away and left her with an old house that used to belong to her grandmother. Carmen thought her mother had sold the house, but she was wrong.

Since the place is now in her possession, she decides to check it out, and soon after she arrives, she begins to experience some strange and inexplicable phenomena. At first, Carmen doesn’t seem too bothered by these creepy events, but when she finds out what her grandmother used to do in that house, all hell breaks loose. Literally.

Like I said before, The Exorcism of Carmen Farias is pretty satisfying, but it’s not without its fair share of flaws. Let’s start with the things this movie does poorly, and then we’ll end on a high note with the great stuff that makes it well worth a watch or two. To begin, the characters are pretty flat and one-note. They play their roles within the plot, but beyond that, there’s really not much to them. They’re not fleshed out very well, and they don’t have any particularly endearing qualities.

Carmen looking upset

To be sure, the film tries to remedy this problem, but its attempts mainly fail. Most notably, Carmen and her husband are having a lot of trouble conceiving a child, and the movie reminds you of this multiple times. It’s obvious that the filmmakers want you to sympathize with their plight, but it ends up just feeling shoehorned in.

This little subplot doesn’t have much to do with the main storyline, and you could’ve taken it out completely without changing the overall plot or the character of Carmen all that much. It’s a valiant attempt at making the protagonist interesting, but like everybody else in The Exorcism of Carmen Farias, she remains fairly bland.

On a similar note, the plot of The Exorcism of Carmen Farias is also pretty generic. We’ve seen deaths in the family, creepy inherited houses, and demonic hauntings many times before, so nothing here is particularly new or surprising. The only interesting story element is the mystery behind Carmen’s grandmother and her house, but even that isn’t without its problems. The buildup is great, but the payoff is a bit underwhelming. The movie gets you really excited to find out why this house is so creepy, but the explanation won’t quite live up to your expectations.

At this point, you might be wondering why I liked The Exorcism of Carmen Farias at all. I’ve ripped on just about everything in it, so how could I possibly have enjoyed it? Well, there’s still one element I haven’t talked about: the horror. This is where the movie really shines. In fact, the horror in this film is so good it single-handedly outweighs all the movie’s flaws and lands The Exorcism of Carmen Farias squarely in the “really good” category.

Carmen looking scared

So what about it is so great? Up until the very end, this movie doesn’t have too many scares, but it’s saturated with a creepy atmosphere that glues your eyes to the screen throughout its entire runtime. From just about the very first shot, you know something terrible is going to happen, but you don’t know what it’ll be or when it’ll finally strike. You can feel it even when there isn’t anything particularly horrific or suspenseful happening on screen, so you can’t help but keep watching to find out what’s going to befall poor Carmen.

In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that the atmosphere makes the film’s flaws fade away into irrelevance. Sure, you’ll notice the thin characters and plot, but they won’t bother you. Once the horror draws you in (and it will draw you in very quickly), it becomes the only thing that matters, so you won’t care about anything else.

That being said, The Exorcism of Carmen Farias isn’t just about the atmosphere. It has some genuine scares as well, and they’re pretty enjoyable. They’re not super original, but like a lot of good supernatural horror movies these days, they’re done well enough that the lack of originality isn’t a problem.

So all in all, I’d highly recommend giving this film a shot if you get a chance. Sure, it has its fair share of flaws, especially with the plot and the characters, but they won’t bother you while you’re watching it. The great horror outweighs them all, so unless you have to be objective for something like a movie review, you’re not going to care much about them. You’ll be so engrossed in the atmosphere that you’ll find yourself having a great time with the movie, so when the credits roll, you’ll walk away a happy viewer.

The Exorcism of Carmen Farias will be playing at FrightFest on August 27.

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Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today.

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