Exorcist The Beginning

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Exorcist The Beginning
Review (5.5/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

Exorcist: The Beginning takes us back to 1949, years before Father Lancaster Merrin helped cast the devil out of a young Regan MacNeil. When we meet Father Merrin (Stellan Skarsgard) he is actually no longer a Father. He has abandoned his faith in God and he is now a lonely alcoholic who also does some work as an archeologist when he is not drinking. Mr. Merrin is offered a large sum of money to go to an archeological site in Kenya to retrieve an ancient artifact but when he gets there, he realizes that there is much more to this site than just a few old artifacts buried under some sand. What has been uncovered is a church that has seemingly been buried in perfect condition. The crew continues to unearth the church and they soon realize that inside the doors of this church there lurks an evil never before witnessed by mankind. As the crew associated with the excavation site is terrorized by this mysterious force, Mr. Merrin seeks the hand of God as he is about to come face-to-face with the Devil himself - in round one!

Exorcist: The Beginning has a lot going on in it. There is the drunk ex-priest, a newly single but somewhat attractive female doctor (Izabella Scorupco), there is another drunk whose face is rotting away and no one can figure out why (played by Alan Ford who was brilliant as Brick Top in the movie Snatch), there are Nazis, the British army, an African Tribe, a young, naive priest, an insane archeologist, a young child possessed by the devil and another one covered in magets. There is just a whole helluva lot going on in this movie and I found it took away from the story of Father Merrin and the story of the devil. And it took away from the movie being not as scary as I would have liked it to be. I just found that 3/4 of the movie ran around trying to explain all these other stories and there was nothing really scary going on and by the time the devil was finally introduced in the movie, it was almost too late. I really have to say that I walked out of Exorcist: The Beginning feeling somewhat disappointed. It wasn't a terrible movie by any means. There were a few jumpy parts. But I was looking forward to having a "shit your pants scary" sort of movie and The Beginning didn't even come close. In fact, during the big grand finale showdown between Merrin and Lucifer, some people were actually cracking up in the theatre, as the devil himself delivered a few rather humourous one-liners - one about getting f'd up the ass. Was that necessary? Had anal sex even been invented in the 1940's? Anyone?

Needless to say, Exorcist: The Beginning was a slight disappointment but not a total write-off. It had a few heart-stopping scenes. It got interesting when the devil finally made its grand appearance. It had some cool tie-ins to the original Exorcist movie. I really liked the explanation about the origins of the devil. I liked when Merrin went into the chuch - deep into the church. It was pretty creepy. And of course, the movie was all about Merrin and he is one cool, fearless hombre. This guy had more balls than Indiana Jones, James Bond and Han Solo all put together. If you are a fan of Exorcist 1 and 3 and hate Exorcist 2, then I would recommend checking out this latest installment in the Exorcist series. You always sort of hope that the new movie will be the scariest of the bunch but don't expect that out of The Beginning. I would have to rank it behind Exorcist 1 and 3 but still ahead of number 2 and that really isn't saying much. The movie has some interesting ideas but in the end, the delivery of these ideas isn't outstanding and that results in a slight disappointment of a movie.

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