A trailer and poster for My Best Friend’s Exorcism have been released ahead of its release next month. In the words of director Damon Thomas, the film focuses on two best friends — Abby (Elsie Fisher) and Gretchen (Amiah Miller). One night, at a friend’s parents’ cabin, something bad happens, and from then on, Gretchen starts to act strangely — for reasons that you might be able to guess by looking at the film’s title.
“Elsie Fisher was in a great film titled Eighth Grade, and she was very much in our minds right at the beginning. She’s a very naturalistic actor; she feels very real, and she’s the anchor point of the movie in terms of, she’s the audience’s POV. I saw many, many, many auditions for Gretchen because you need to have someone who is the natural leader of the pack but also can ‘go there’ during the possession and really play those genre beats. I thought Amiah was brilliant. And she was scary on a Zoom!” Thomas said.
Based on the novel of the same name by Grady Hendrix, the film is said to be “a totally timeless tale of terror and true friendship,” which the poster also indicates. It shows the faces of Abby and Gretchen on two half-heart necklaces with an upside-down cross in the middle. It displays their love for one another, which in the novel, they say is DBNQ (dearly, but not queerly). It also shows the evil force that’ll come between them.
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The synopsis for the film also called it a “homage to 1980s pop culture,” which the trailer indicates right away with a rendition of Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” playing throughout, in addition to the character’s fashion, fitness, and by having a prominent scene take place within a mall.
The said scene shows Abby meeting up with Christian Lemon (Christopher Lowell), an overconfident mall exorcist. He’s the one that tells Abby that Gretchen going from looking grotesque and gnarly-looking to copacetic, but cuckoo for coco puffs means that she’s possessed. Upon seeing firsthand that he was right, he also gives a much less enthusiastic Abby a high five.
“He says, ‘Your friend is possessed,’ and it goes from there. But it kind of parallels with every teenager’s journey through school because that is also as haunting as being possessed. So there’s those parallel themes that run through the film.”
Also glimpsed in the trailer is a long tapeworm emerging from the mouth of Margaret (Rachel Ogechi Kanu), one of Abby and Gretchen’s other friends. It’s a scene that can be found in the novel. The trailer also shows a split-second shot of Abby blowtorching a demonic-looking being. Assuming that’s not a dream sequence or hallucination, the film might have a more action-packed finale than in the source material.
Regardless of any changes made to the source material, Hendrix has given all indications of being excited that one of his novels has been adapted to film, calling the trailer “Totally. Tubular” on Twitter. Another of his novels set to be a major motion picture is Horrorstör, which he himself will write the screenplay for.