Director: Marc Carreté
Writer: Marc Carreté, Mike Hostench
Stars: Albert Baró, Marta Belmonte, Pepo Blasco, Luis Marco, Claudia Pons, Irene Montala
There is nothing worse than a boring horror film. When the word “boring” modifies a word that denotatively means “a very strong feeling of fear, dread, and shock” (thanks, internet!), you know you have a problem on your hands. Enter Asmodexia, a word that sounds like a person suffering from anorexia and asthma (with a random letter “d” inserted). The word actually means something, but more on that in a moment. In a hollowed nut shell, Asmodexia is a knock-off of every decent-to-excellent demonic, exorcist, anti-Christ horror film on the market.
The beginning of this convoluted plot sees an older man (his name is Eloy) delivering his daughter’s devil-child while scolding his other daughter about this apparent sinful act. He even takes the future aunt’s head and shoves her in front of her sister’s crowning vagina. (It’s very tasteful.) Still, she gives birth and the screen goes black.
Jump 15 years, specifically four days before the doomsday prophecy of 2012 set by the always enlightened Mayans and their astrologist calendar. This date is not really associated with Mayans anymore, but presented as a day of resurgence and rebirth. The movie, however, doesn’t explain what will come back. Is it Jesus? Satan? 2Pac? It's oh so mysterious.
With this plot turn, we see the same dad, now grandfather, and his granddaughter Alba, who we can infer is not a devil-child since she’s helping Eloy over the next few days perform exorcisms. The 3-4 exorcisms they perform for the next hour are slow-paced, convoluted, and simply boring. New characters are brought into the fray, but they don’t really signify anything. Character development is secondary to cheap scares, which are about as scary as middle schoolers running a haunted house (no offense to middle schoolers). But all of these underdeveloped characters finally make sense when…
What we learn by the end of this film is that Alba and Eloy are not exorcists at all. They’ve been secretly running a cult to bring back the anti-Christ, and those exorcisms were really subordinates of the Catholic Church trying to stop them. This bitter lemon twist of an ending is terribly dissatisfying, putting even the M. Night Shyalaman haters to shame.
But this ridiculous puzzler of a twist could have been realized if one were to understand the title, which, mind you, was never explained in the film. A little Googling led me to Asmodeus, considered by some early texts to be the “king of demons” and the ultimate demon of lust, one of the seven deadly sins of course. When combining the root word Asmo with with suffix –exia, a medical term roughly meaning when one possesses something - typically bad, then you get Asmodexia: Possessing Asmodeus. This would be a clever title if any semblance of this mythology was ingrained in the plot, but alas, it is not.
There are other narratives in this film, including the sister (the one who witnessed the crowning) who has been locked in an asylum and is feeling the effects of the impending rapture. People becoming demonic in an asylum? I would watch that movie. But that’s not what we get with Asmodexia. Instead, we get a film that exercises nothing but futility, nihilism, and shock porn without being shocking.
Asmodexia is on DVD March 28 2016 in the UK.