The movie starts out at a snowy, country home. A doctor is knocking on the door but no one seems to be home. He walks over to the other side of the house and sees a barn. The doctor stares at the barn with an unsettling look, glances up and sees a man looking down on him from a window on the top floor. Soon after a woman answers the door, asks if he's the medical examiner, to which he answers he is. The doctor calls for the husband, Mr. Rose, but he doesn't answer, and just stares blankly into the next room. The doctor goes into the room in which Emily Rose is in. A little time passes, and the doctor enters the room, where there is a priest, Mr. and Mrs. Rose, Emily's sisters, and a police officer. The doctor informs her that this was no "natural" death, and the cop tells the priest he is under arrest.
The movie now turns into a series of flashbacks and present day court proceedings. The defense for Emily hires a lawyer they KNOW is mean and nasty, but who is also a VERY religious man. For the other side they hire Laura Linney's character who's name is Erin. Erin had previously won a case for her company that was a very big deal. She defended a murderer, and she got him acquitted. Her firm is very adamant that she be the one who represents the priest. She demands to be made partner if she takes on the case, to which of course, they accept as long as she DOES NOT allow the priest to take the stand and make a fool out of the church. She agrees.
Erin goes to meet with the Priest in the jail, and the priest starts off by warning her against this trial. At first he doesn't want her representing him, telling her there are evil demons surrounding the case. She brushes this off and tells him, a court appointed attorney is NOT going to be able to get him acquitted. He tells her he will agree to her being his lawyer, IF she let's him "tell Emily's story". She agrees, knowing very well she's not going to put him on the stand. The priest starts by telling her how Emily first came to be possessed. She was lying in bed, alone in her dorm when suddenly she wakes up at 3 am, thinking something is burning. She goes to investigate the hallway and notices, the fire alarm is not going off. She starts walking down the hallway, and suddenly the door to the outside slams open. She runs towards it and pulls it closed. She walks back into her room, lays in her bed and closes her eyes. She hears something, so she opens her eyes and she sees her vase shoving its way off her night table. But there is nothing there to push it, it seems to be a ghost. Emily freaks out and hides under the covers as the case goes crashing to the ground. Suddenly, her covers get yanked off and she starts to sink into her bed, as if something is on top of her pushing her down. She can't breathe, she can't move, she can't scream. Finally she gets flung off her bed and her muscles and body contorts and she bends into all these weird shapes, then she collapses on the ground. She also has another episode where she is sitting in class and starts seeing demons in the clouds, and looks at classmates and their faces are twisted and contorted. She runs into the school church and looks at two old ladies sitting in the first row praying, and they are demons too. Her body contorts and she collapses to the ground. The next day she went home, never to return to college again.
Flash forward: The trial begins. During the trial, as we hear the story from the different witnesses, it flashes back to the story and shows us what happened, as they say it. Emily's parents sit behind the priest, as they back him 100%. The lawyer for Emily objects to EVERY single thing Erin tries to say or do, but the judge rules in favor of Erin every time. Basically the two arguments are as follows:
The tough lawyer is stating Emily was psychotic-epileptic, (meaning she was mentally unstable and had seizures) and that the Priest convinced her that she didn't need to take the medicine that was prescribed to control her seizures, and to try and heal herself with faith, not pills, causing Emily to have seizures, hallucinate, harm herself and not eat, thus causing her eventual death. They are accusing him of neglect, and wrongful death. Basically murder.
The priest is saying, that Emily was possessed by demons, and was NOT epileptic at all. That the exorcism preformed was necessary in her survival, and she was fully aware that she was possessed, and that she Ok'd the exorcism.
During the trial, Erin keeps waking up at 3 am throughout the movie but the first time she thinks she smells something burning. She also hears something out in her kitchen so she goes to investigate. She sees nothing, and notices the fire alarm is not going off. She doesn't see anything out of the ordinary, so she gets a drink of water. When she takes a sip, her front door opens. She gasps in alarm and drops her glass which shatters on the floor. She locks the door, checks her house again and goes back to bed.
The trial continues on and the Priest's side is getting creamed. The priest keeps leaving out important information such as there was an ACTUAL doctor at the exorcism who saw everything and could get him exonerated. At first the priest refuses to give his name, as he promised the doctor he wouldn't, but eventually they figure it out, and the day comes when the doctor has to testify and he doesn't show up. Erin goes looking for him, and when she finally finds him, he tells her he's so sorry, and he just can't do it. He tells her that Emily was possessed by demons, but he is too scared to testify. He gives her a voice recorder with a tape in it, and tells her to listen to it. Suddenly out of NO WHERE a car comes hurtling into him and he goes right through the windshield and dies. This is devastating to her case. She informs the Priest who is also really upset. He notices that something is up with Erin, and tells her that the demons are after her. Erin shrugs this off, as it is impossible. At this point she doesn't know WHAT to believe. She tells the priest that she was walking in the snow the other day, outside her house and saw something glittery in the snow. She picked it up and it was a locket, with her exact initials engraved on the outside. She took it as a sign from GOD that she is exactly where she is supposed to be in life. So, she puts the Priest on the stand. She goes home that night, and wakes up in a sweat at 3 am again. She hears Emily screaming. She runs out into her living room, and searches for the voice, only to find the voice recorder. Something had pushed play. No LIVING person was in her apartment at the time.
The next day, the Priest tells the jury exactly what happened, from the moment he first started visiting Emily, until her death. Erin asks him to please play the recording from the tape recorder. He obliges. It then flashes back to the day of Emily's exorcism, Halloween Night. The Priest, Emily, her Dad, the doctor and Emily's guy friend, (who knew she was possessed and helped her through her previous seizures) are all present for the exorcism. The priest starts sprinkling Emily with holy water, and saying prayers. Emily starts to change into the demon. The priest demands to know who the demon is, but the demon will only reply, "I am the one who dwells within!" in the same language spoken by Jesus. The priest keeps yelling prayers and demanding to know the name of the demon, when "Emily" breaks free of her restraints and jumps out the window of her SECOND floor bedroom, and runs into the barn while a furious rain storm is going on. Everyone runs after her, and the catch up inside the barn, and so begins a conversation between the Priest and Emily, which is all in another language. The priest demands to know who this demon is, and the demon just starts rasping out, "1..2..3..4..5..6.." over and over, till finally he reveals himself. And in 6 voices AT ONCE, Emily tells him, he is Satan, himself, in the flesh. The doctor reveals her health is failing and that this cannot continue. So the exorcism fails. When asked why they did not perform another exorcism after that night, so goes a letter written from Emily to the Priest. She tells him, Mary, Mother of God, visited her and smiled upon her, giving her a choice. She may either come with her to Heaven right now, and be rid of these demons, or stay on Earth, live with the demon, who will NEVER go away, and can not be exorcized out, and will be the slow and painful death of her, Emily chooses to stay, and fight the demons. That this was her path, and god told her to fight. Days later, she dies of severe malnutrition, because the demons, wouldn't let her eat. Emily's lawyer comes back at him saying, ancient Monks practice the art of using two vocal cords at once, therefore making it sound like several voices at once, and Emily went to a church school and studied German, where she could have picked up this other language she was speaking so fluently. It was far fetched, but could prove that Emily was actually a tad crazy, and not possessed.
After finding out that Erin put the Priest on the stand after she swore she wouldn't, her boss fired her. She didn't seem to care, as she put him on the stand again and asked him more questions. The lawyer for Emily tried to rip apart the priest's testimony, and tried to get a doctor to say that Emily was Epileptic, which this other doctor did say that she PROBABLY was epileptic and had she continued her medicine, she wouldn't have died. Come to find out when the Priest takes the stand again, Emily never stopped taking the medicine. Thus proving she was not epileptic.
The judge gives the case to the jury, telling the to deliberate what they have just seen and to come back with a verdict. They come back some minutes later, and deliver the verdict.
"In the case of Emily Rose Vs. The Priest, we find the defendant, guilty of neglect, and wrongful death."
This shatters Erin and the Priest. The judge starts to schedule a date for punishment, but the Priest requests to be handed his sentence now. The judge sees no problem with this. As she is about to serve him his sentence, a jury member stands up and requests if the jury can make a suggest. The judge agrees, and they suggest he be served as "time spent" to which the judge agrees. He was found guilty, but is free to go. Lots of cheering and hugging from the Rose family and with Erin. Erin's boss tries to offer him the partnership again, and apologizes, but she turns it down and goes home.
The movie ends with Erin sitting in bed, and she looks at the clock. It reads 11:47 pm. She closes her eyes, fade to black. It updates you at the end telling you Erin inspired the movie by digging further into the case files. The Priest has gone into hiding, and is no longer with the church. The last thing you see is Erin and the Priest visiting Emily's grave. At the end of the movie you just have to decide if you believe that Emily was possessed by the Devil, and that he actually ended up taking her life in the end, or was the Priest crazy, and convinced the poor girl to stop taking meds, and was neglectful of her, and so she died of that.
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