Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) Review

Horrorific content by Yo Adrian on December 06th, 2020 | Movie Review | Slasher, Religion, Demon, Dangerous Exploration, The Exorcist Series

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It's about Father Merrin's first run in with the demon Pazuzu, 24 years before having to exorcise it out of young Regan.

Exorcist: The Beginning was directed by Renny Harlin (who also directed The Dyatlov Pass Incident and The Covenant) and stars Stellan Skarsgård (from Dominion: Prequel To The Exorcist and Deep Blue Sea), James Darcy (from In Their Skin and Rise: Blood Hunter) and Julian Wadham (from Outpost).

Go back to where the horror began.

Exorcist: The Beginning Review

Exorcist: The Beginning starts off on a medieval battlefield where thousands of dead soldiers are shown crucified upside down, one clutching an ancient cursed relic. This is the same relic Father Merrin takes home to Washington D.C. that gets young Regan possessed, in the original Exorcist. Cut to Cairo, Egypt in 1949 and Merrin gets invited to join an archaeological dig in Kenya to uncover a secret buried church that's said to hold the lost cursed stone. The church is special because it was apparently built over a thousand years before Christianity arrived in the area, and then was immediately buried. So, it was seemingly built to keep something in. And the moment it's opened people start dropping like flies.

This movie starts off strong but seriously begins to drag once the story unfolds. You get the battlefield, some satanic imagery and the buried church which is cool, but then for more than an hour it's all talking, romance, talking, arguing, talking and Nazi flashbacks. This might be why IMDb labels it a drama/horror. 

It's not all drama of course, once all the backstory is out of the way this Exorcist turns into a full-fledged supernatural slasher. One guy gets his throat slashed, another gets mauled by a pack of ghost hyenas, another just dies as the camera zooms into his face, another gets shot, another shoots himself and a priest gets his head chopped.

Exorcist: The Beginning is nothing like any of the three Exorcists that came before it. The Exorcist was about Pazuzu possessing a girl, Exorcist 2 was about Pazuzu refusing to leave the girl and The Exorcist 3 was about the soul of a serial killer possessing others as a means to keep on killing. This Exorcist is about Pazuzu attacking random people after being released from a church that was built to imprison him. It's a prequel so there is a tie-in to the original, but it feels like its own standalone movie. There's also another sequel after this one called Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist but it's literally the same movie as this one, just re-packaged and re-released for marketing reasons.

Worth Watching?

I don't think this Exorcist adds anything fresh to the franchise. It's a cool backstory and could be fun to watch if you're working your way through the Exorcist franchise, but as a standalone movie it's mediocre at best. If you're looking for a movie about a buried ancient tomb built to keep evil in, watch The Pyramid. If you're looking for a horror that's full of Nazi flashbacks, watch Hannibal. And if you're looking for a movie about archaeologists and ancient relics, watch Indiana Jones.

Exorcist: The Beginning Review (2004) Worth Watching? - ALL HORROR Tweet it

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