Exorcist The Beginning Review

by Steve Rhodes (Steve DOT Rhodes AT InternetReviews DOT com)
August 30th, 2004

A film review by Steve Rhodes
Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes
RATING (0 TO ****): * 1/2

"He's coming for you. He's coming for you," proclaims little Joseph (Remy Sweeney), the designated innocent child in the EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING. As you watch this snoozer of a horror picture, you'll be thinking he's coming for you too. Your "he," however, won't be some devil figure but the sandman, since this exceedingly lame production has few frights and not much story either.
This prequel to the already oversequeled EXORCIST was originally going to be helmed by John Frankenheimer, but he died during the preparatory work for the film. After his demise, Paul Schrader took over and completely filmed the movie, but in postproduction he was fired by the studio, reportedly for committing the crime of not making the movie horrific enough. After that, the studio hired Renny Harlin (CUTTHROAT ISLAND), an obvious choice if one wants some cheesy gore. Although I haven't seen the Schrader version, it would have to be more interesting than Harlin's DOA film. About the only thing even mildly noteworthy about it and the only possible part of it to give you any reason to try to stay awake is Vittorio Storaro's artistic cinematography, which keeps compelling you to watch a story with no interest other than its photographic panache.

Unlike THE EXORCIST, with its famous hey-mom-look-how-I-can-do-a-360-with-my-head scene, there is not a memorable moment in the EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING. A slumming Stellan Skarsgård, who plays the film's lead, will probably be pleased that this movie is so instantly forgettable.

EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING runs a long 1:54. It is rated R for "strong violence and gore, disturbing images and rituals, and for language including some sexual dialogue" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

The film is playing in nationwide release now in the United States. In the Silicon Valley, it is showing at the AMC and the Century theaters.

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