EXETERVicarious Entertainment

“Stop pissing off the demon!”

During an all-night, drug-fueled party at an abandoned asylum known for the horrific treatment of its patients, a group of ordinary teens decide to experiment with the occult, mysteriously leading to a violent possession. In an effort to find help, the group rushes to escape, only to find themselves locked inside with no means of communication. Tempers flare, trusts are broken and in attempt to save one of their friends possessed by the demon, the amateurs try to perform an exorcism. Instead of solving the problem, and unbeknown to them, they unleash an even more powerful and vengeful spirit, one with a distinct motive and which wants them all dead. The teen’s only chance of survival is to uncover the asylum’s deep mysteries and find a way out before it’s too late. Their search for answers uncovers the asylum’s dark past…

I came across this film’s existence while trolling around Google one workday afternoon, trying to see which movies opened in theaters on the upcoming Friday, and Exeter was listed as one of the ones getting something of a theatrical release. The poster intrigued me (watching video at work was strictly verboden, so I didn’t watch the trailer), but as I suspected, “theatrical release” in this case once again meant “anywhere but Nebraska”. Such is the case of being a horror fan stuck in the left ventricle of the Midwest.

Anyway, while doing some looking into this film, the tid bits behind this one are that: It began life under the title Backmask, was released in the UK as The Asylum earlier in the year, and was released later here in the States as Exeter on August 7th…after it was shown on DirecTV the month prior. By this time, it was already released in the UK on DVD. I…my brain hurts.

Plot-wise, Exeter won’t be winning any originality points. And I doubt the makers of this flick weren’t really going for that. It’s your standard Young White Idiots Accidentally Summon Evil While Partying In Abandoned Whatever horror movie, the same kind found in genre classics like Evil Dead and Night Of The Demons. I’m alluding to the original versions, because I’m old, but the remakes would probably do in a pinch for you younger Millennial types, I guess. And while it’s a trope that’s been done too many times with far less talented hands, EXETER actually ranks up there with the afore-mentioned classics in the execution.

This was a pleasant surprise. I was expecting bland performances by a bunch of too-pretty-for-you cast giving us character types rather than actual characters, working with a half-baked cookie-cutter script and paint-by-numbers plot and “meh” scares and effects. Instead, I found not that, while you’ve got your standard character archetypes, they were surprisingly interesting, and given some depth, and the actors did a rather good job portraying them. The dialog was pretty snappy, kinda James Gunn level with the quality. The movie comes off as being very aware that it’s anything but derivative, and has fun with that awareness, going so far as lifting some things directly from The Exorcist without batting an eye, and doing so nice and effectively.

Overall, I highly recommend checking out Exeter. Or The Asylum, if you happen to dwell in the UK. It’ll make for a fun night, if paired with The Cabin In The Woods.