Exorcist : The Beginning

I love a good horror movie. Yes my FAVORITE horror movie involves the undead, however, I will give other horror areas my due attention as well.

The Exorcist franchise has taken a nosedive with this latest entry to the series. What a terrible film.

The first Exorcist was scary for it’s time and, although it is obviously “dated” when you watch it, still has the power to kick you square in the balls and say “HEY!!!! THIS IS EVIL AT ITS WORST!!!! WE’RE GONNA TAKE THIS SWEET YOUNG GIRL AND MAKE HER DO THINGS THAT WOULD MAKE A SAILOR BLUSH AND THEN BLAME IT ALL ON A SUPERNATURAL FORCE!!!”

Second Exorcist? Uhhhhhh…..yeah…..bad idea to try for a money-maker….Commercial flop and critical flop….The third one? Whoah. Still, to this day, one of the scariest horror movies I have ever seen. Gives me chills EVERY time I watch it. Commercial flop, critics liked it though….Slow-moving at times but creepy, nonetheless…

Maybe audiences were getting themselves ready for the onslaught of bloody horror. It seems in the past few years, the good majority of horror movie directors have felt the need to “gore it up” and the movie becomes more about the spurting blood and less about the cerebral thrill of being scared….Don’t get me wrong, I’ll watch a violent horror movie, but those types of movies are a dime-a-dozen and there are countless scenes of big-boobed women racing around half-naked attempting to escape an ax-wielding maniac (Kind of disturbing, honestly, about how sex seems to maintain a symbiotic relationship with horrific violence) but the movies that truly stand out among the horror genre are the ones that never showed you anything but still scared the pants off you (Blair Witch, whether you loved it or hated it, scared a shitload of people! and made a shitload of money!) You may disagree with me here, but the movies that have really freaked me out were the ones that never showed you what was being escaped from.

The Exorcist franchise is one of the most famous of the horror franchises….Yes, there’s Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street but those are non-stop gratuitous violence that appeal to a certain group of horror fanatics….Exorcist though? That’s the “thinking man’s horror series” (at least in my humble opinion) and is less about the blood and more about the things people do while under the influence of a demon.

This latest entry in the series leans more towards the blood and disgusting than any sort of cerebral thrills. The effects were absolutely terrible. As The “Wif” put it, “did they have a bunch of digital design students making these effects? (not a knock on digital design students by any means, but Hollywood should be able to afford some killer effects ESPECIALLY for the Exorcist movies). They digitized things that they probably could have just used real items for (the dead bird for instance! or how about the flies?) There is one scene where a young boy is torn to bits by hyenas and in the hands of Steven Spielberg or EVEN Wes Craven (well maybe not after the trainwreck that was Cursed) would have been pretty scary but with the awful digital hyenas it was more like an episode of Captain Kangaroo with dancing dogs (who happen to tear apart a little boy) than a horror movie.

How about the final scenes where Father Merrin comes face-to-face with his nemesis from the original Exorcist (this is a prequel to when Max Von Sydow’s character is a younger man)? Once again, The “Wif” hit the nail on the head with her statement about that. “Hey! That looks like Reagan!” Hoping to cash in on the success of the first one, they came full-circle and attempted to make another “Reagan”. There is only one Linda Blair and there is only one Reagan and any attempt to mimic her will fail. Miserably, as evidenced here.

The only part that even came CLOSE to creeping me out was during this final scene where the possess-ee moved oddly across some cave walls. Unnatural movement gives me the frickin’ willies. You don’t even need to digitize a movie to creep me out, just have someone moving in an unnatural manner and I’m instantly uncomfortable (but in a good way!)

In summation, the movie was a huge skid-mark on the Exorcist series. Plagued by problems, I don’t know why the producers even went ahead and released it. Hopefully the Paul Schrader version will be better than Renny Harlin’s version.

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