The plot of My Best Friend’s Exorcism in brief
My Best Friend’s Exorcism is a horror comedy based on a book by Grady Hendrix and directed by Damon Thomas (Killing Eve). It mixes memories of the 1980s, high school drama and demonic possession into a unique hybrid of horror and comedy.
In the film, Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade) plays Abby Rivers, a confident teenager who would do anything for her best friend Gretchen Lang (Amiah Miller), even if it means saving her from a real demon.
How is Gretchen taken over?
Gretchen and Abby are best friends. “LYLAS,” they say each time they say goodbye. It means, “I’ll take care of you like a sister.” Gretchen’s family is moving to another state, so Gretchen will be graduating from high school somewhere else.
Before Gretchen leaves, the friends spend the weekend at a remote cabin with their friends Margaret Chisolm (Rachel Ogechi Kanu) and Glee Tanaka (Cathy Ang).
Gretchen and Abby decide to go for a night walk after taking acid from Margaret’s friend Wally (Clayton Royal Johnson). They eventually find a shed in the middle of nowhere and Gretchen calls Abby in. But something inside scares them both, so they run away. Gretchen falls, but Abby keeps running even though she hears Gretchen say she’s right behind her.
However, it’s a trick. Gretchen, as she really is, is still in the shed. And something off-screen pulls them away.
Abby asks Margaret and Glee to help her find her friend when she realizes she is not with her. And they find her – alone in the shed. “Where did you go?” Gretchen asks Abby in a gruff tone, “What have you done?” She had told her earlier that day that she would never leave her.
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Gretchen doesn’t kill her friends
Gretchen hasn’t been the same since this happened. She stops showering, starts picking at her own skin, and her lips become dry and cracked. She also looks different.
At first she just seems sad, like she’s had a bad LSD trip. But in the end, the demon takes over more and more. She feeds Margaret dangerous “diet shakes” that nearly starve her. Then she takes the boyfriend Margaret has. She gives Glee a brownie with nuts, which causes her to have a very bad allergic reaction. She makes fun of Abby and makes her look bad in front of all her classmates.
Gretchen’s plan almost kills both Margaret and Glee, but luckily neither of them die. Both are taken to the hospital for emergency treatment.
Abby finds out something bad is going on with her friend Gretchen by reading her notebook and going back to the old shed. And she will need help to get out of it.
How does Abby get rid of András and save Gretchen?
Abby enlists the help of Christian Lemon, a religious practice expert played by Christopher Lowell. A few weeks ago, the Lemon brothers did a show at Abby’s high school. Their act is called “weightlifting for Jesus.” During the show, Abby saw how Christian was put off by Gretchen’s behavior.
So she found him and asks him what he knows. Gretchen is possessed by a demon, Christian tells her. He is willing to help by performing an exorcism, but he warns her it won’t be easy.
Abby is able to break into Gretchen’s house and give her drugs. She and Christian then tie her up in a bed at the cabin where Margaret’s family is staying. Christian makes the demon unhappy by calling on God’s name and showering Gretchen with holy water. At the end the demon says his name is András. But Abby already knew that. Gretchen was first owned in a shed. On the wall of the shed was the name “András”.
Christian keeps trying to get rid of András, but the demon makes it difficult for him when he takes the form of Christian’s dead mother. He can’t handle that. He runs away, leaving Abby to deal with the problem.
Gretchen breaks free of her chains and fights Abby, who doesn’t know how to get rid of a demon “in the name of Jesus.” For one, she is Jewish.
Abby decides to try something different. She says her friendship with Gretchen gives her strength. After saying all the things she has in common with her best friend Gretchen, she tells her that she loves her. Finally András comes out of Gretchen and Abby lights the demon.
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What did “MIN” stand for on the Ouija board?
Before Abby and Gretchen find the shed, Margaret pulls out a Ouija board, which they play with for fun.
The girls simultaneously put their hands on the board and asked all the spirits to help them. Her hands start moving, but the girls think Margaret is kidding them.
Before they stop their experiment and laugh about it, they spell out the letters “MIN”. But András was probably trying to talk to them. “Mine,” he says over and over again later about Gretchen. The blackboard would have written “MINE”.
What happens at the end of My Best Friend’s Exorcism?
Gretchen was not saved from András by the Bible or crosses, but by Abby’s friendship. Now they can continue to be friends.
Gretchen moves away at the end of My Best Friend’s Exorcism, but the best friends promise to love each other “LYLAS” - like sisters. They remain best friends and see each other once a year.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism is a horror comedy that pays an almost perfect homage to the high school and scary movies that were popular in the 1980s. It’s not a parody, but it’s close. It also celebrates some of the worst things about the 1980s, like big perms, cherry coke, and bright pink eyeshadow. The film is based on Grady Hendrix’s book about how demonic possession tests teenage friendships and loyalty. It’s a lot of fun and some of the comedy is great.
Abby, played by Elsie Fisher, is a plain, spotty, and confident scholarship student at a fancy Catholic school. Gretchen is her best friend. She’s popular, beautiful, and sometimes mean (Amiah Miller). After playing the Ouija board in a cabin by a lake, Abby and Gretchen challenge themselves to go inside a spooky building in the woods. Gretchen emerges with her hair disheveled and her lips split (a dead sign of demonic possession). Then she acts like a big bitch and makes her friends’ lives miserable (really, in horror movies it can’t be stressed enough that teenage years without satanic intervention can be torment).
My Best Friend’s Exorcism is a horror comedy, but it’s not just a bad copy of the ’80s because the script cleverly uses ’80s references. The joke in the scariest scene is about an urban legend about diet pills from the 1980s that I immediately remembered. And Abby hires a funny, celebrity, Christian bodybuilder named Christian Lemon (Christopher Lowell) to perform an exorcism on Gretchen. Director Damon Thomas has worked on episodes of Killing Eve, and he’s having a lot of fun with those scenes, as the mullet-wearing, cropped muscle T-shirt proves pathetically unqualified for the job (“This isn’t your average puke and blame”).
The movie My Best Friend’s Exorcism could use a real scare or two. But this will bring back good memories for anyone old enough to remember Tiffany and how-to columns in teenage girl magazines.
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Grady Hendrix’s Quirk Books novel My Best Friend’s Exorcism was adapted into a film by Damon Thomas. It’s a young adult horror film that leans more toward “young adult” than “theological horror.” With the word “exorcism” in the title, all subgenre expectations of vomit and other signs of possession are in place, but only as an introduction. There’s nothing really scary like The Exorcist. Instead, screenwriter Jenna Lamia focuses on 1980s references that make friendships with the devil less scary. My Best Friend’s Exorcism packs a punch and uses lots of digital effects, even when people throw up, but it still has an easy-to-follow storyline and gives teenage girls the lead in a field formerly dominated by men.
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