Exorcist The Beginning Review

by Jon Popick (jpopick AT sick-boy DOT com)
August 21st, 2004

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I expected the worst from Exorcist: The Beginning for a myriad of reasons (the other Exorcist sequels sucked, and this one has been sitting around on a shelf for well over a year) and was mildly surprised when it didn't stink up the joint. In that regard, you can call it the Queen of the Damned 2004. The Beginning is a prequel, actually - set in 1949 Kenya, where a young Father Merrin (Stellan Skarsgård, King Arthur) has his original encounter with The Big D. And I ain't talking about diarrhea, kids.

The whole Merrin thing was probably lost on the folks I saw The Beginning with, since none of them were alive when the original Exorcist film was released (you know, back before priests were despised). There were a handful of nice connections between the two pictures, and also some things directly borrowed (or "inspired by") the first. Like a possessed kid, a priest full of doubt in his faith, and a certain statue that made me piss the bed when I was little. But there is new stuff, too. Like a love interest (Izabella Scorupco, Reign of Fire), World War II flashbacks, and babies made completely of maggots.

Fans of The DaVinci Code who can't wait for the film adaptation of Dan Brown 's book might have some fun with The Beginning. Its main character is an archeologist-slash-expert in religious iconography, and its story revolves around Vatican cover-ups and conspiracies. Fans of Freddy vs. Jason might dig it, too, since the possessed individual in this one runs around killing people in the final act. Is it just me, or did the Devil-Regan's reach not seem quite as long?

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