Rated | Alphabetical
Exorcist: The Beginning
Renny Harlin, USA, 2004
Man, remember that little demonic girl, the one who puked all over the place?
No, nimrod, not that Olsen girl, but the chick from The Exorcist, Linda
Blair. Man, that was spooky. It is said that people who worked on that film were
cursed, and if you check out the later film career of Ms. Blair, there may be
something to that.
Anyway, I just saw Exorcist: The Beginning, and I’m here to deliver the
real deal on it. (Actually, I was supposed to go see it when it was at the
theatres, but I spent the money from ST’s petty cash fund to try out one of
those fried Twinkies. Now that’s good eatin’! The film itself is 144 minutes
long and I think it was only at theatres for about 288 minutes before it was
pulled, so you can see how I missed it.)
This film tells of the early days of Father Merrin (yes, film geeks, the same
priest who tried to cast the devil out of Linda Blair in the first film).
Merrin, played by Stellan Skarsgard from that Good Will Hunting movie, is
a shattered man with no faith left after witnessing the horrors of World War II.
He has renounced the priesthood and taken a job from some spooky Eurotrash dude
to obtain a rare artifact, a small idol of an ancient demon, heading off to
Africa to begin his search. Long story short, there's an ancient church buried
in the sand there, with all kinds of inverted crucifixes and satanic stuff.
Strange things start to happen, random possessions occur, and the natives begin
to have their fill of these meddling outsiders unleashing ancient evil.
Merrin forms a bond with a local doctor named Sarah, who is trying to treat a
young boy believed to be possessed by a spirit. How does that saying go again?
Feed a possession, starve a fever... or is it starve a possession...? I forget.
Anyway, suffice it to say this ain’t no
M. Night switcharoo crap where there really is no evil. My friends, there is
evil aplenty! Without ruining the film for you, let’s just say that
there’s a little twist about who the demonic spirit is really after.
Now, as a film unto itself, this is an average, run-of-the-mill demonic
possession flick. The only thing that makes it slightly interesting is recalling
the first film, and then learning how Merrin first came face-to-face with
demonic possessions. When approached by another priest who tries to convince
Merrin that possession does exist, the younger priest recalls the tale of an
order of nuns who went “insane” and had an orgy with each other and some goats.
Merrin replies: “That does not make them evil, just horny... and inventive.”
Yeah, I know, this dude is a regular Don Rickles. He ain’t smiling, though, when
he has a showdown in the unearthed church with a demon. Then he figures out that
the younger padre was laying some righteous words on him. Ain't that always the
way? (Me, I believed the dude right off the bat -- lesbian nuns messing around
with goats ain't something to take lightly. Trust me, I've had dreams about that
This is an odd film to categorize. The Merrin character is interesting, but on
the other hand, the hot doctor never gets naked. You see what I mean? It's
several notches above a typical mindless flick, yet it is far from a work of
greatness. Back in the day, before we knew about karate and robots, I guess
demonic possession was a big deal, although most of us today have been there,
done that. But the story does crank up the intensity as it progresses, which is
a good thing. Still, no one's gonna mistake this for Die Hard 2 or
Deep Blue Sea, even though, like Exorcist: The Beginning, they were
directed by Renny Harlin. (I could see someone mistaking it for
Cliffhanger, though, if they've been hitting the sauce.)
I think it's fair to suggest that you know what you’re getting into when you
rent this flick. As I often say, it is “what it is” and with that in mind, I
guess it “does what it does.” Bottom line: if you're into movies with
demonic possessions and such, you'll probably dig it, although it won't really
stick to your ribs. Go ahead and rent it; what’s the worst that could happen?
Aside from dreaming about those nuns and their goats.
design copyright © 2001-2011 Shaking Through.net. All original artwork,
photography and text used on this site is the sole copyright of the respective creator(s)/author(s). Reprinting, reposting, or citing any of the original
content appearing on this site without the written consent of Shaking
Through.net is strictly forbidden.