By MICHAEL GINGOLD
Supernatural horror meets coming-of-age comedy in SOPHIE THE EXORCIST, a new web series hailing from Canada. We’ve got an exclusive first look at a proof-of-concept trailer and words from the creator.
A production of Beta Force Carbon Ltd., SOPHIE THE EXORCIST is directed by Anna Cooley and written/produced by Cooley, Braden Brickner and David Hiatt. The cast is headed by Keara Graves, David Tompa, Ivy Miller, Conner Christmas and Michelle Morgan. The synopsis: “SOPHIE THE EXORCIST is about a young woman who falls into the ancient family practice of the Āšipu, or Sumerian exorcist. And if that exorcism stuff wasn’t tough enough for Sophie Kaminsky [Graves], she finds out that her dad has put her childhood home on the market. Even Sophie’s relationships with her childhood best friends, Hamp [Christmas] and Edie [Miller], have been rocky since she left for the big city. With the help of her grandmother’s old books and supplies, Sophie faces off against a progression of powerful demonic creatures. She’s aided by her uncle Peter [Tompa], the soon-to-be-divorced social studies teacher who turns out to be an expert on ancient Sumer. Along with Hamp and Edie, they investigate the sudden spread of possessions. Together they uncover the art of exorcising demons, eventually leading them to the nexus of Black Valley’s evil affliction…”
“SOPHIE THE EXORCIST is about an endearingly flawed female protagonist who has to face her own flaws in order to successfully defeat the evil in her town,” Cooley tells RUE MORGUE. “It will appeal to any young person who has had their plans completely altered and has to deal with a new reality, and it’s for any millennial who craves the shows they grew up watching.”
The writer/director feels a personal connection to the material as well. “Sophie is ambitious, stubborn, tenacious, and passionate. Since she was young, she liked to have her whole life planned out. When she graduated from high school, she had a plan of what her life was going to look like, and that plan falls apart pretty quickly. She’s smart and competent, and she takes on every obstacle with the same tenacity. I’m also very ambitious and I’m from a smaller center, though not as small a town as Black Valley. I’m from Calgary and whenever I travel to Vancouver or Toronto, I feel very small and insignificant. I feel like I’m compensating for something.”
In addition to featuring a younger protagonist than usual for the exorcism genre, SOPHIE is distinguished by the background Cooley and co. have applied to the material. “I find this project exciting because we’re taking a different approach to exorcisms,” she says. “I’m a history dork, and I love ancient languages and cultures that no longer exist. Using the information we have about ancient Mesopotamia and basing our exorcists on those of that time is exciting. They were healers and they took on the demons in their world, which they called illnesses. So they fought demons with rituals and herbs and incantations.” They’re also going old-school with the effects: “When I was 9, I went to an event called Monster Movie Weekend at the Tyrell Museum, and Ray Harryhausen was presenting the films and talking about all the creature effects, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I love that we’re primarily using practical effects in SOPHIE, and the fact that those are serious while it’s our characters’ reactions to [the horror] that are funny.”
Plans are for SOPHIE THE EXORCIST to premiere next fall; keep your eyes here for updates!