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Exorcist: The Beginning


Jeff Nelson

Exorcist: The Beginning is an awful film that's boring and adds nothing to the original

Exorcist: The Beginning
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Even after all these years, the film studio behind The Exorcist wanted to release a prequel to gather up on the success of rereleasing the original. There's a saying that goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". This holds true for this franchise. The original is such a classic piece of cinema that doesn't need an explanation or a back story. The questions that it leaves you with just made the film that much better. Why ruin that with a prequel?

Father Lankester Merrin is sent to Africa at the end of World War II to tend to the needs of the local community. He faces his first encounter with a devilish force known as Pazuzu. Most of the film felt as if it didn't know what to be between slow-burn horror and just trying to make you jump. This movie fails at achieving either of the two. The dialogue is poor and attempts to steal directly from the original during the possession scene. This movie never felt like a film about The Exorcist, but more like a film about just the concept of exorcisms. The pacing is slow to the point where the entire movie feels undeniably dull. The fact that The Exorcist didn't use just loud noises and things popping out onto the screen to scare its audience and allowed the actors and dialogue to do the work made the film work. Exorcist: The Beginning resorts too much to weak 'scare' tactics that aren't even scary.

I always thought that it was hard to picture one of these films linking to the demon without speaking much about Regan. Without Linda Blair, the franchise wouldn't have been as big as it is today. There are two different people that are shown being possessed and neither of them stand up to the greatness that Linda Blair achieved. Looking on the positive side, the acting could have been much worse. There are no award-worthy performances, but they're suitable for this type of film. The connection between Stellan Skarsgård and Izabella Scorupco feels unnatural and forced. Remy Sweeney performs as Joseph, one of the two characters who are possessed. For such a young actor, he does an acceptable job. In the end, there aren't any genuinely memorable performances.

At the time of classic horror films, there was no such thing as CGI. All FX used were practical and everything seen on screen was put right in front of the camera while filming. Exorcist: The Beginning chose to use CGI for way too many scenes. There are even animals that are created with CGI and they look very animated. None of the FX in this film look real. The make-up used for the possessed came off as trying to imitate what was used in the original, but it's just not the same.

The franchise of The Exorcist has officially been beaten to death. The movie studios just need to leave the series the way it is, as critical damage has already been afflicted. The Exorcist never needed any prequel, sequel, or explanation. It's clear that this movie is just to cash in on the success of the original. Exorcist: The Beginning is an awful film that's boring and adds nothing to the original.

My Rating = One Star

Next movie: Psycho (1960)
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