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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Germany's equally impressive answer to Emily Rose
Requiem (Hans-Christian Schmid, 2006)

The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Scott Derrickson's 2005 reimagining of Felicitas Goodman's nonfiction book on the Anneliese Michel possession case, is one of the best American horror films of the past decade, and arguably the best from a major studio. The source material, however, by virtue of the case itself, belongs to the...
Published on January 3, 2008 by Robert Beveridge

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I anticipated...
Although the actors' portrayals in this film were well done, the film itself failed to strike a chord in me entirely. I believe that the actual topic of the film was tip-toed around as it took too long to get to the actual story. There was too much socializing and partying going on which abaded the true topic. The ending was extremely poor as it simply states the official...
Published on February 6, 2009 by Christine R. Longden


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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Germany's equally impressive answer to Emily Rose, January 3, 2008
This review is from: Requiem (DVD)
Requiem (Hans-Christian Schmid, 2006)

The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Scott Derrickson's 2005 reimagining of Felicitas Goodman's nonfiction book on the Anneliese Michel possession case, is one of the best American horror films of the past decade, and arguably the best from a major studio. The source material, however, by virtue of the case itself, belongs to the Germans. It's no surprise that German director Hans-Christian Schmid (Crazy, It's a Jungle Out There) and first-time feature writer Bernd Lange crafted what can be seen as an answer to Emily Rose with Requiem, a decidedly different take on the Michel case, but one that is just as effective in its treatment.

The story concerns Michaela Klingler (stage actress Sandra Huller, in only her second big-screen appearance), a college student on her way to becoming a teacher. Vague references are made early on to bad events that occurred in her past, but the first glimpse we get that something is amiss comes when we see what appears to be a minor seizure. We get more vague mentions of what happened in the past, and a lot of short scenes of Michaela taking her prescription anti-seizure medication. Michaela, it comes out, is convinced that she is being assaulted by evil spirits. Those around her have very different opinions as to the accuracy of her beliefs. The priest who serves her parish is convinced she has a mental problem, while the guy he replaced is intrigued with the idea that Michaela may be possessed. Her mother, deeply and conservatively religious, is of the opinion that the only "evil spirits" involved are those any college girl is exposed to when away from home. Her father just wants his daughter to get better, and doesn't care what the reasons are, as long as they can be fixed. Her best friend, the aggressively atheist Hanna (Anna Blomeier), thinks Michaela's religious upbringing is to blame. And the boyfriend-- who knows what he thinks? Everyone's keeping him in the dark.

If it sounds like a farce, that is because, in part, it is-- albeit a deadly serious one. There were never any solid answers in the Anneliese Michel case, and Schmid and Derrickson take very differing approaches to their source material. In a sense, the two movies are of a piece, as The Exorcism of Emily Rose picks up almost precisely as Requiem ends-- with the exception of one half-hearted attempt at talking to the "demons", Requiem shows nothing of Michaela's final days. I say this not as a spoiler, but as a way of dissuading those who continue to refer to this as a horror film. It is nothing of the sort. This is a drama, or more accurately a character sketch; it's not about the exorcism, it's about Michaela Klingler (or, more accurately, Anneliese Michel). Without spoiling either movie, it's safe to say that both want you to take away a different idea of what actually happened in the case (and, interestingly, both takes on it are different than the conclusions reached in Goodman's book on the case, which makes experiencing all three interpretations in a relatively short period of time feel not in the least repetitious); either is plausible, depending on your beliefs.

Differences or no, the strengths of both movies lie in the same place, and depend on the same thing-- their lead actress. Where Jennifer Carpenter's strength lay in the dramatic difference between Emily Rose the vivacious college student and Emily Rose the demon-possessed monster, Sandra Huller's lies in showing how we get from point A to point B. No matter what happened to the woman, what captures the viewer in this case is the sense of loss of self that Michaela Klingler suffers over the three or four months spanned by the film. That's why, both in this case and that of Emily Rose, what the director and screenwriter want you to believe about the Anneliese Michel case is ultimately irrelevant. What's important, what's compelling, is the universal themes raised-- the smothered child suddenly thrust into the big, wide world, and the anxiety issues that are bound to follow.

What really happened to Anneliese Michel? We will never know; the only person who can tell us has been dead for over two decades. We, living in the twenty-first century, have been remarkably fortunate to have people speculating on that question who are capable of offering up such compelling thoughts on it. ****
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A More Docile Approach to the REAL Story Behind "The Exorcism of Emily Rose", October 17, 2009
By 
Woopak "The THRILL" (Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Requiem (DVD)
There has been quite a good number of movies that have been inspired by the life a German- Catholic young woman named Anneliese Michel, who was believed to have been possessed by 6 or more demonic entities. More or less, folks are very familiar with Scott Derrickson`s "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" which may be the most popular one due to Hollywood`s marketing ability. Another film that depict her life is "Exorcism: the Possession of Gail Bowers" which I haven't seen yet. "REQUIEM" however, has been billed as the most accurate and truthful depiction of the events in Anneliese Michel's experience with exorcism and bouts with epilepsy. The film is directed by German director Hans-Christian Schmid and presents a dramatic approach of the true events rather than approaching them with the trappings of a horror movie. The names have been changed to protect the persons involved.

Germany in the late 1970's. Michaela Klingsler (played by Sandra Huller) is young devout Catholic woman who suffers from Epilepsy who is determined to get a college degree regardless of her condition. She sees education as a form of an `escape" away from her family's overly religious ways and traditional beliefs. She shows great potential in becoming a scholar and with a very timid support from her father (Burghart Klausner), she begins to excel in her studies. She also tries to build relationships while fighting a feeling of loneliness and sexual awakening. Several months after Michaela becomes a college student and she begins to experience strange things within her psyche; Michaela begins to hear voices, she begins to see things no one else could and what is more disturbing is that she has begun to be repulsed by religious objects, prayers and priests. Science says that she has a mental sickness but Michaela believes that she is being possessed by a demon. What is real or what is a hallucination? Michaela wants to subject herself to the rites of exorcism which may prove to be more than she had bargained for...

Hans-Christian Schmidt's "Requiem" unfolds more like a character-driven dramatization rather than a horror movie. Instead of following the usual horror movie trappings and diverting to fantastical recreations of demons spewing out goo-ish stuff , jumping out and screaming obscenities; "Requiem" is a docile film that keeps its tone quite low-key and very subtle. If you are expecting a movie with lots of scary images, gruesome make up, and strong dialogue then you may be a little disappointed and you should see "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" instead. However, if you are curious as who or what is the real Anneliese Michel then this movie will not disappoint.

A lot of the film's theme lies on the fabric of Michaela's potential insanity and a war of divine faith. Much of the lead character's belief lies on the fact that medicine cannot remedy her suffering and that relief may be found in the comfort of God's hand and the priests who try to aid in easing her suffering. The film's script manage to raise questions about faith, religious belief and medical science without becoming preachy and passing judgment. Her experiences present a question between the three notions of possession, epilepsy and mental imbalance, the director wisely asks the right questions and brings forth an area for bafflement.

"Requiem" takes a more focused approach on its humanism rather than subjecting the audience to elaborate `jump' scares and tricks with imagery. The script shows that Michaela is suffering, we witness her becoming more and more sickly, upset and towards the end, she becomes a more malevolent. The atmosphere gives off an aura that the film is a factual event and most of the demonic haunting is exhibited with Michaela's reactions and not on violent imagery. The screenplay also draws out the characters of Michaela's parents that gives them a feeling of helplessness; they are torn on what they have to do. Even the priests are given a somewhat of a contrasting characterization as one is able to embrace the possibility of a demonic possession as presented by father Martin (Jens Hurzor) and one who may be terrified to the point of denial in father Gerhard's persona (Walter Schmilinger). The film takes on a more relaxed approach and keeps its focus on Michaela and the situation that torments her. It is none the less unnerving as we see her deteriorating state of being.

I know it is difficult to portray a film supposedly full of factual events but director Schmid adapts the material very well; it also helps when the lead actress is as talented as Sandra Huller. Huller plays her role very well, with a restrained craft that will still bring some chills in your spine. Michaela believes she is being oppressed by evil spirits and the actress does a terrific job with the script. Huller would only do this when the she sees fit, after all, an oppressed-possessed individual would try to hide this fact as much as they could until it spirals out of their control. Huller plays her character with this understanding which makes it very powerful. Michaela is given a depth based on a controlled, awesome, innumerable mixture of emotions and sensations. It also brings questions as to what provoked the experiences; sexual awakening and modernization, stress from college, not taking her medicine or maybe all of the above?

"Requiem" is a film stripped down and is raw from any easy resolution to the questions. I liked the idea that the direction sidestepped the trappings of a horror movie but instead manages to bring the characters out in a compelling dramatization. Instead of invoking fear from stylized special effects and dumb jump scares, the film brings a persuasive feeling of dread by bringing forth its humanity. It makes one wonder if Michaela is indeed insane or just sick with epilepsy...or is it indeed ethereal? The doctor who tended to the real Anneliese Michel was recorded as saying: "there is no injection against the devil, Anneliese".

Director Schmid manages to ask the right questions without spoon-feeding his own conclusions to his viewers. It is easily one of the best films that have tackled the subject matter of demonic possession and exorcism. "Requiem" feels very authentic to a truthful story and there is nothing more unnerving than a horror movie based on factual events. The performance of Huller (who won best actress for this film) is worth the price of the dvd; she brings you straight into the psyche of Michaela that is very creepy but at the same time, so honest and sincere in simplicity. "Requiem" is a tumultuous journey with a young woman who just wants to live her life, stay true to her beliefs...demons or not.

Highly Recommended! [4+ Stars]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Requiem, June 1, 2010
This review is from: Requiem (DVD)
REQUIEM retells the haunting story of Anneliese Michel (changed to Michaela for the film) , a young college student plagued by 'demonic' forces that caused her both physical and mental harm before a rogue exorcism lead to her death in July of 1976. The story had been popularized a year earlier in THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, but where EXORCISM seemed to promote the idea that Anneliese was, in fact, possessed, REQUIEM takes a much less theatrical approach in depicting the events from a psychological standpoint. Michaela's spastic behavior and horrified reactions to her visions are the only clues the audience is given as to the hidden terrors that she is experiencing. The documentary-style filming gives the viewer intimate access to the events as they occur, drawing additional sympathy from those watching as they are faced with the deteriorating effect Michaela's condition has on her sanity and those around her. What many will find to be the most disappointing aspect of the film is that it ends at what would be the story's climax (that being the series of exorcisms that resulted in her death). This choice was presumably made to allow the viewer the chance to decide whether or not Michaela was possessed for themselves, but how she may have acted during these missing sequences may have had a profound impact on the viewer's final opinion. REQUIEM remains a competent character study that approaches the subject from a subtle and unique angle.

-Carl Manes
I Like Horror Movies
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We're not in Hollywood anymore!, April 13, 2009
This review is from: Requiem (DVD)
What a quirky movie yet there was something compelling about it that made me keep watching. The perpetually overcast scenery and the not frigid but still chilly weather threw a blanket of menace over everything. As much as I hate watching movies with subtitles I couldn't get myself to stop watching. Even though I'd read the blurb about the movie on IFC I still kept waiting for a logical explanation for the main character's suffering OTHER than possession. I KNOW! What a Hollywood theme right? But the Germans made a very non-Hollywood film. It's quiet and understated. There aren't any bizarre special effects with blood spurting everywhere. Conversations are quiet, subdued even when the devil is speaking. LOL I have no idea if the actors are well known in Germany but none of them were even vaguely familiar looking to me which also added to the feeling of realness about this movie. The ending caught me off guard although it probably shouldn't have.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid film, shabby Amercian cover art, December 9, 2007
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This review is from: Requiem (DVD)
This film is probably the closest to the truth any film maker will come to telling the story of Anneliese Michel, the girl that also "inspired" the more sensationalist production of Exorcism of Emily Rose.

You're not going to find paranormal phenomena, gore and chilling hallucinations in this movie. Instead you'll see rock solid performances about a poor girl who had epilepsy and most likely dissociative personality disorder with psychotic episodes. Who's parents and town priests chose to treat her with a 10 month long excorcsim rather than continue further treatment attempts by psychiatrists.

I'd like to point out that the cover art and advertising for this film is completely misleading, much to my surprise as the distributor is IFC Films. For decades now, American distributors choose to advertise foreign productions in a way where they appeal to the stupidest of all audiences. In this case, Requiem is sold as a hack horror flic that rides the success wave of "Emily Rose"...which it isn't at all. Shame on IFC.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Film like medicine to the tortured psyche, June 22, 2010
This review is from: Requiem (DVD)
Schmid's Requiem is a sober case study of the effect of freedom on a pill-taking epileptic who hears voices as she tries to move outside of her deeply religious family's restrictive upbringing. She tries to cope at university, for the first time outside the narrow world that she knew,making new friends of both sexes.Michaela reaches out for saints,crosses and prayer rather than psychiatry, as she has her seizures.Her family, priests and friends restrict her choice of solutions to those of exorcism or prayer and 'home treatment'.The actress playing the central role of Michaela(Sandra Huller), conveys the religious-epileptic ambiguity very well.This film was so free of the sensationalism of the Emily Rose variety,even the death happens in the subtitles, that I thanked the greater subtlety of European cinema for this called-for treatment.

The question of possession is left open,it is not ruled out.She believes she is possessed but the director films with a clear mind the alternative theories of what is going on.The conflict between her parents,her father's closeness set against her mother's controlling nature,her epilepsy,her religiosity,leave her with limited interpretations of her experience.The lead performance was superb,coming as she does from stage acting.Again, German cinema,with films like this,Sophie Scholl,The Edukators,The Lives of Others,The Nasty Girl,Downfall and The Baader-Meinhoff Complex,is forging ahead,showing European cinema with a fine conscience what it can do.I recommend
this film like a doctor recommends you take your medicine!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I anticipated..., February 6, 2009
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This review is from: Requiem (DVD)
Although the actors' portrayals in this film were well done, the film itself failed to strike a chord in me entirely. I believe that the actual topic of the film was tip-toed around as it took too long to get to the actual story. There was too much socializing and partying going on which abaded the true topic. The ending was extremely poor as it simply states the official outcome of the film's premise rather than take you through the meat of the process which is what would've been the real point to the film. If you really want to see this film I would not recommend purchasing it but rather renting it, if possible. Good day! :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, April 23, 2009
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This review is from: Requiem (DVD)
This is an excellent film putting a totally different spin on the events also covered in the film The Exorcism of Emily Rose. This film is significantly more boring though. My four star grade is to reflect how excellent the film was. But, please do not be misled...this is a slow paced film that requires patience to see the plot unravel. Recommended if you have an interest in this sort of thing.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Its not horror..., March 29, 2007
This review is from: Requiem (DVD)
I loved this little film but I felt the cover of the DVD didn't do it any justice. I'd rather they have used the original movie poster for the cover as it would have a lot more impact. Yep, the cover makes the DVD out to be a horror film which in truth, it isn't. Its probably a marketing technique to try and convince horror movie fans to buy the disc. Buy it only if you'ver seen it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The history of Annelise Michel., September 26, 2014
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This review is from: Requiem (DVD)
ESP: La película esta bien realizada, a la usanza europea, sin escenas de gran terror como ocurre en el cine de EUA; pero el personaje de Anneliese Michel fue un poco ensuciado. Por el contrario, en la película "The Exorcism Of Emily Rose", el personaje fue bien respetado en su pureza, y las escenas de terror son horripiantes. En ambas películas, las actuaciones son buenas. Regresando a "Requiem", esta película logra una muy buena ambientacion en la década de los 70s. Finalmente, "The Exorcism Of Emily Rose" es mejor película, y "Requiem" la recomiendo menos.

ENG: The film is well done, in the European way, without great horror scenes as in the films of USA; but the character of Anneliese Michel was a bit dirty. By contrast, in the movie "The Exorcism Of Emily Rose", the character was well respected in its purity, and scenes of terror are horripiantes. In both films, the performances are good. Returning to "Requiem", this film does a very good ambience in the early 70s. Finally, "The Exorcism Of Emily Rose" is best film, and "Requiem" I recommend less.
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Requiem
Requiem by Hans-Christian Schmid (DVD - 2007)
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