Be forewarned -- The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a deeply disturbing film. Based on the true story of Anneliese Michel, a young German college student who died in 1976 during an exorcism, the movie explores the court case which followed her death. Flashbacks are used in addressing the controversy of whether she was truly demon-possessed or suffering from epileptic-like seizures and mental illness. While demon-possession is a highly disturbing subject matter, it is a spiritual reality the Bible clearly addresses. And as such, it is not a subject matter Christians should shy away from understanding and discussing. The key to this is having a good balance in our view of Satan and his demons. The famous Christian author C.S. Lewis once reflected that there are two great dangers with regard to the demonic, to think too much of it and too think too little of it.
But are horror films appropriate entertainment for Christian teens (or for any teens, for that matter)? You may get a different opinion on that topic from every person you ask!! The director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Scott Derrickson, observed in a recent interview, "I think teenagers love horror films because they provide some kind of release for pent-up fear and aggression. . . We must look at the dark and frightening side of life - to not do this at all is to live in fear-based denial. I think that the thrill of the horror film experience is the thrill of facing the fear and surviving. . .(it) reminds us that we are not in control, that things are not all right,' and that there is evil both out in the world and in ourselves." The movie's director also hopes Emily Rose will get people thinking about the spiritual realm and talking about God.
So how can a horror movie get people talking about God?
By addressing the issue of the demonic. In our modern age it is sometimes considered politically incorrect to believe in Satan and his demons. But the Bible repeatedly teaches on the subject and Jesus intervenes in individual lives to rescue those suffering from attacks by demonic forces. (See 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6 Matt. 4:24, Matt. 8:28, Mark 3:22, Luke 4:35, John 8:48-49,) Some people will indicate that they believe in God and His angels, but do not believe in Satan and his demons. But if there is a personal force for good in the universe that we call God, why is it so hard for people to acknowledge, as they look around at the evil that is evident in our world, that there could also be a personal force for evil that we call Satan?
However, there is no doubt that it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether a particular disturbing behavior is the result of a medical/bio-chemical condition that should be treated medically or is a manifestation of demonic possessions. That is what makes The Exorcism of Emily Rose such a disturbing film and that is a very real motivation for each of us to be aware of spiritual warfare. To understand more regarding Satan and his demons, read The Top Ten Questions About Satan and Spiritual Warfare or check out the free Soul Fuel Edition (Question #21) which answers the question How Do I Engage in Spiritual Warfare?
Director Derrickson said of Emily Rose, "My intention is to make a film that provokes people to ask themselves what they believe about evil, what they believe about the demonic. Inevitably when you ask questions like that you end up asking yourself what you think about God, what you think about morality. . ." As you get the chance to talk about this movie with your friends, ask them point blank some of the following questions to get the conversation turned toward God:
What do you believe about evil?
What do you believe about the demonic?
What do you think about God?
How do we know what's good and what's evil?
If you need help explaining what the Bible teaches in response to these questions check out the G.O.S.P.E.L Journey.
Jennifer Carpenter, the actress who plays Emily Rose, stated in a recent interview,
"...there are people who are afraid of scary movies, and there are people who might be afraid to ask certain questions that they've been avoiding in their lives. And this movie might ask them to hurry up and start thinking about it."
Whether you choose to see the movie or not, you can use it as a means to encourage your friends to "hurry up and start thinking" about some of those spiritual questions they've been avoiding. Their lives depend upon it!
Jane Dratz works for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries, please visit www.dare2share.org. To find out how Dare 2 Share Ministries and Focus on the Family® are working together to capture the hearts of this generation of teenagers, visit www.capturetheirhearts.com. Send feedback to email@example.com.