After a couple years in the making, and two directors later, we’re finally treated to the fourth chapter in the Exorcist series. In my opinion, this is a vast improvement over Exorcist II – The Heretic and The Exorcist III. I can’t erase those two celluloid dingleberries from my mind soon enough. Exorcist – The Beginning actually has a good story, good plot, and a few scares along the way.
First of all, this is a prequel to the original chiller and takes place about 25 years before our hero, Father Merrin (Stellan Skarsgård), meets up with Regan, the sweet and darling little who has a predilection towards masturbating with crucifixes and vomiting on priests. At this time in his life though, he prefers to be called Mr. Merrin, due to a loss of his faith during the reign of the Nazis. Even though he lost his way during this trying era, he was a priest at one time, and is still very well education in the ways of religion. Also, being an archeologist, Mr. Merrin is approached by a collector of rare relics to assist British archeologists in Kenya in excavating an ancient church discovered buried underneath centuries of sand, and thought to be predating the arrival of Christianity in the region by 500 years. I guess since Mr. Merrin is currently hanging out in Egypt, and Kenya isn’t that far away, he opts for this mysterious expedition unaware of what lies ahead.
He agrees, and his new immediate acquaintances at the dig site are Father Francis (James D’Arcy) and Sarah (Izabella Scorupco). Father Francis is young fresh faced priest, and Sarah is a doctor lending her medical skills to the local villagers. There are also a few other locals that we get to know for various reasons that will be explained later in the movie. Ever since initially unearthing the church, the villagers have become frightened. Out of tribal superstition, or do they have good reason? Probably a little bit of both, especially as the explorers descend into the church, and really super especially as Merrin discovers Pazuzu, the nemesis that will haunt him again later in The Exorcist.
This has a little of everything for everybody. Gore, animal attacks, murder, dead babies, suicides, foulmouthed demons, and the most inverted crosses I’ve seen since a Slayer concert. The CGI and special effects are above average, and the sound is loud in certain points on purpose so you fill your britches. There are even a few referential nods to The Exorcist, of which if you are familiar with the original, you should be able to pick up on.
Over the course of almost two hours, everything will eventually unfold and be explained, and all is well with the world once again. Not to give away anything, but Mr. Merrin once again dons his collar is prefers to be called Father Merrin. That should be pretty obvious, because of his role a couple decades later. Exorcist – The Beginning may not be as shocking as the one that started it all back in 1973, most likely become we’ve become so desensitized by the genre over the past 30 years that nothing really surprises us. Other than that, it’s a good movie.
Exorcist - The Beginning Website
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