Plot: Chloe (Jennifer Stone) has struggled since her parents separated, but lately her erratic behavior has escalated. A breaking point was reached when she attacked a girl during a soccer game, resulting in her being kicked off the team and putting her future in college sports in serious jeopardy. She continues to fight with her mother, get into trouble with teachers, and cause conflict with her fellow students, so clearly Chloe is in a desperate position. Her friend Lauren (Janel Parrish) wants nothing more than to help her, but even her efforts to smooth things over seem to fail. When she takes Chloe to a party, Chloe gets drunk and has impulsive sex with a guy she met, a guy who turns out to be the boyfriend of Olivia (Shanley Caswell). Of course, Olivia is crushed and now Chloe is hurting others, not just herself. As her downward spiral continues and Chloe starts to hear strange voices in her head, Lauren starts to wonder if there is more to her condition than mental illness. Her latest report for the school paper led her to witness an exorcism, but is Chloe really possessed?
Entertainment Value: A Lifetime movie about mean girls, impulsive behavior, and potential demonic possession? That is indeed what High School Exorcism, also known as High School Possession, is all about. This is a brisk, fun movie that tries to be overly serious and dramatic, which of course, only adds to the fun. Jennifer Stone plays our troubled teen and she is quite good here, her dead eyes and deadpan facial expressions work very well for this kind of role. She also handles all the emotional outbursts and general instability like a champ, lashing out with violence and then crumbling into an emotional mess. If she isn’t up to the task, the movie dies a slow death, but thankfully, Stone is on her game here. The rest of the cast is solid too, including Caswell as a religious zealot type bitch and William McNamara as the creepy pastor who performs these underground exorcisms. Not much here in terms of depth, but it is a cool premise that offers a good amount of the usual Lifetime movie charm. Plenty of drama, unstable emotions, and female rivalry, so if you appreciate the Lifetime formula, I recommend this quirky installment.
No nakedness. Just a random hookup that opens narrative paths, but this is Lifetime, so I doubt anyone expects wild naked flesh on showcase. No blood, though Chloe does unleash her inner MMA fighter when she takes down a couple rival girls and does a little ground & pound. The exorcism element adds some creepiness of course, including some waterboarding torture, but no gore or bloodshed here. The dialogue has all sorts of fun stuff, from mean girl talk to inner voices to slut shaming, so plenty of drama just like you’d expect. Chloe is a goldmine of lines, both her external persona as she attacks everyone around her, as well as her inner voices that torment here and say all kinds of wild things. There’s also some light religious wisdom and mental health lingo, so not bad at all. In terms of craziness, Chloe is a firecracker of insanity and super fun to watch, while the whole exorcism/torture angle adds some spark as well. So in the end, a little more out there than most Lifetime movies, to be sure.
Overall Insanity: 5/10