Thursday, June 20, 2013

EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING (2004)

Set some time between WWII and the early 70's of the original film, EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING finds a young Father Merrin (this time played by Stellan Skarsgard) as a archaeologist who is called to go check out the discovery of a church in Africa that predates the infestation of Christianity in the area.  A traumatizing event during the War caused him to take a sabbatical from the priesthood, but what he finds in this ancient church leads him to return to his faith.

Those looking for an all out demon possession-fest will once again be disappointed, but those looking for a little bit of information about the relationship between Father Merrin and Pazuzu will find it interesting.  That's really about it.  The discovery of the church could have been super creepy, but instead it was pretty weak with nothing but computer-generated jackals and local tribesmen acting scared.  Finally at the end there's a little bit of possession action.  Zero nudity, very little gore or blood, light pacing with no real ups or downs, good acting.  On the one hand I was disappointed with the lack of excitement or scares, but on the other hand I kinda enjoyed learning a little bit more about Merrin's past.

Half-hearted recommendation, but for Exorcist fans only.

[Update: I just discovered that Part 5 is also the same story just a different director.  Yeah, that's pretty weird, but while it isn't that much better I did prefer that version over this one.]

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 5