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Exorcist II: The Heretic
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Reviews & Ratings for
Exorcist II: The Heretic More at IMDbPro »

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

"What am I up against, Father?"

Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
14 January 2001

"Eeee-villl" says Richard Burton, unconvincingly cast as a conflicted Man of the Cloth in this follow-up to 1973's "The Exorcist". He attempts to purge mind demons from possession-survivor Regan (a vaguely distraught Linda Blair, pretty but oddly aloof). Louise Fletcher (as Dr. Tuskin, Regan's therapist) and Kitty Winn (returning from the original as Regan's guardian, Sharon) are both mediocre, but Burton surely fares the worst; unsuccessfully hiding his embarrassment behind a staunchly theatrical mask, his readings seem conformed to reach the high balconies, and his over-enunciation seems peculiar in these surroundings--he's angry when he shouldn't be, and vice-versa. It's been said that this film cost Burton the Oscar for "Equus" (released the same year). There are some very good moments, however (in director John Boorman's original cut, not the botched alternate version): the night visit to that spooky house in Georgetown is marvelously imaginative, with locusts smashing through the windows, and I loved it when the demon tries seducing Father Burton by morphing into a sexy version of Regan (Linda, you naughty girl!). But, for the most part, the film is heavy-handed, "metaphysical" instead of scary, and occasionally awkward and/or unintentionally funny (when Burton goes into synch to reach Dr. Tuskin, everyone is frantic because she's breathing abnormally, so what does the assistant tell Burton? "Relax deeply!"). Thankfully, the DVD is Boorman's original version, which eschews Burton's narration and begins inside the Mexican church (not outside near the steps). It introduces us to the grown-up Regan with a cute tap-dancing sequence and also has a corny but satisfying final tag involving Sharon and Dr. Tuskin in Georgetown. **1/2 from ****

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A great something

Author: Noel Vera from Manila, Philippines
10 May 2005

"Exorcist 2" in my opine may not have the cheapo shock thrills of the first "Exorcist" or the unintentionally funny awkwardness of Blatty's "Exorcist 3" (officially the real sequel), but it does have Burton spouting all that heavy theology, which on one side is irredeemable camp, on the other has Burton's beautiful growl and Boorman framing and lighting him in such a way he looks a hell of a lot holier (and more devastated) than Jim Cavaziel in Gibson's monumentally unimaginative "Passion." Then there's the film-making. Which is gorgeous. Which (some of it, anyway) is inspired by the flying sequences in Murnau's underrated "Faust," only in gloriously amber color, as if Boorman smeared honey on his lenses.

The film is a great something--sometimes I think a monumental sick joke on religion, sometimes I think a fantastic film-making experiment that you shouldn't (for the sake of your sanity) take too seriously. It's Boorman turning the theological bull Blatty (appropriate name, I think) spouted in the original picture into something that resembles science fiction--a scientifically workable theory on the nature of evil, no less.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful: the teeth of the wind.

Author: airspirit77 from the wings of a demon
1 February 2007

Contrary to what most people say...this film is not all THAT bad. It does have, perhaps, some problems about it, problems that certainly make it either hard to believe, or too laughable for some people. I don't see anything wrong with it. What we are dealing with is a prime example of how one can use the main premise of a film to build off of in a sequel. They actually do it the right way. They don't use the first film as a crutch, and they keep the references to a minimum, so the second story can take presidency. Now, in this film, we have Reagan McNeil, four years later, and still undergoing therapy so that Mother Chris McNeil (who is absent in this film) will feel better about the fact that she is always working, and a divorcée. Reagans doctor, Jean Tuskin, is a hard-core scientist, and doesn't believe in the supernatural, even though she knows about Reagans turbulent experience in the past. Soon, a fledging priest, Father Lamont, is called upon to make a final stand about the death of Father Merrin. His goal is to prove that evil exists, and to save Reagan from the battle that still ensues in her beautiful soul. Neither he, nor Reagan can predict what will happen, but will Jean Tuskin, the doctor, help them? Can she surrender her scientific methods to the religious battle that continuously plagues the earth? Can the evil spirits of the air lead our protagonists to the truth behind all demonic possession on earth? You must watch the film to get the answers.

This film is just fine for me. After all, it was made, technically, just as well, if not better, than the first, and it's a good example of how to use pseudo-science for fun and experiment in fantasy. It also has many symbolic references to the human mind, some visible, others not so much. The only downfalls are a few moments that, if edited, would take away some snicker feelings the viewer might get. I won't lie, some of the voicing of the demon is awful, but it's not the worst. It's just a different take on it. Why America is not so accepting of this film is anyone's guess. Maybe director John Boorman was right. Perhaps is WAS to good for most people...

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Interesting plot and design

Author: binah-1 from United States
5 November 2006

I love this movie. No its not Citizen Kane, but not every film has to be. I thought it was an interesting concept and a good attempt to answer questions from the first film that Blatty doesn't really answer, mainly why was Regan possessed. I loved the cinematography and the music is great. Boorman is noted for not being an actors director. But his focus on theme and mood really worked well. The look of the film was great. This movie is not the worst film ever made. That is such a cliché and overly used. I like to view the film on its own and not as a sequel. Even Blatty's own attempt at a sequel had its own life and had a slight connection to the first film. I think its time that this film was given its due and given some merit for its originality.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A strangely brilliant yet flawed film

Author: Jeffrey Wang ( from USA
12 September 2002

First off, the Exorcist II is not one of Boorman's best films, and it is not intended to be a horror film. With those points out of the way, I must say that Exorcist II is a very interesting film, in the way that it probes metaphysical questions about religion, ideas about "primitive" cultures, and themes of salvation and redemption. Although at times the symbolism is a bit heavy-handed, Exorcist II is still one of the more thought-provoking and intelligent Hollywood films. So, in summary, although it is far from a great film, Exorcist II is also not the horrible piece of filmmaking some would lead you to believe.

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

John Boorman directs a confused and slow film, but that is worth to be seen for the performances and for the frights!!

Author: ary luiz dalazen jr. ( from Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil
12 July 1999

The excellent and competent film maker John Boorman had the hard responsibility to make a sequence which should have the same (or superior) quality of the first film, and even not achieving to give us a memorable work, he deserves to be applauded by having made a touching, although a bit slow in some moments, thriller. "The Exorcist 2" is a truly super production, with the best special effects the money could buy at the time (1977), and we notice that in each technical aspect: the cinematography, the photography and the sound track give the notion of the movie's magnitude, but even so the result didn't get to supplant the quality of the first of the series initiated by William Friedkin. Who is more talented, Friedkin or Boorman?hard to say, but lets remember that Friedkin made the first one with little money. Famous terror films generally generate sequences, and sometimes, the sequences overcome the original, it is more than enough to remind of the "Hellraiser" case , that, in 1988, had a better, more violent and cruel continuation, called "Hellbound: Hellraiser 2" (and, as "The Exorcist", the film was conducted by a new director, in this case, Tony Randel, who replaced Clive barker). In spite of great part of the "Hellbound Hellraiser 2" success derive of the fact of the memorable performances,such as the ones of the English actress Clare Higgins (playing perverse Júlia) and William Hope (as the young and brilliant dr. Kyle MacRae), the film, as well as "The Exorcist 2", overflows a rich and breath taking visual, but the script helped a lot. In the case of "The Exorcist 2",the plot didn't have the same psychological study and the character's depth of "Hellbound: Hellraiser 2" but a confused and undecided story.The great John Boorman should receive a medal: he really made everything that he could to offer a good show. The performances, excellent, come from Richard Burton, Linda Blair and Louise Fletcher. Ned Beatty is also in the film, interpreting an entertaining pilot. Beatty, an excellent actor in any role, works for the second time with Boorman, they made "Deliverance" together. Don't make a mistake, because "The Exorcist 2" is not the terrible film that the people comment, but a confused continuation, without defined objective, of one of the greatest Hollywood's successes ,but even so, the work of Boorman deserves to be seen, for its brilliant performances and for some good frights!!

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12 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

absolutely underrated!!!!

Author: capoazzurro from Germany
5 June 2006

First of all: This movie is underrated! And second to me, there's nothing, absolutely nothing ridiculous about this movie! Of course it's quite different from it's predecessor, so maybe some people would watch this movie with wrong expectations. But it is really entertaining movie with a mystic atmosphere and yes, good actors. Of course, if you really want to point out some things that might be unrealistic, go for it. Of course it doesn't and probably will never exist anything like a synchronizer that synchronizes the minds of two persons. And yes, of course it's not necessary to have these lights at the synchronizer, but who the hell did ever had similar thoughts about the beamer of the enterprise?! Or did anybody had problems that in any (even the good) sci-fi movie of the 80s, you had to see the same "futuristic" typo graphs, which aren't even stylish nowadays and probably won't be in one hundred years, in which time these movies took place? So where's the problem about these unimportant things, what a "synchronizer" looks or sounds like? What's important is THE STORY, THE IDEA behind the movie. And the idea behind The Heretic is an interesting, mystic one. Compared to hundreds of other horror movies this one is a really good film. My recommendation: Go and watch it yourself, and make your own mind. By the way, I'm really into horror-movies, occult-thrillers and i've seen lots of films and splatter films don't knock me off the chair, but I never had to laugh at no time in this film...and that's good for a horror movie!

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13 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Misunderstood brilliance

Author: princehal from Austria
1 May 2002

John Boorman's astonishing "sequel" to the monster hit of 1973 was accused of all the faults the original had been guilty of. In fact it redeems the whole concept, chucking out the obscene pseudo-religiosity of the first movie (which it used to justify indulging in sadistic fantasies about little girls that would have made De Sade blush) and creating instead a hypnotic nightmare-fantasy that makes Regan a sympathetic and courageous heroine. If the plot is incomprehensible it is no more so than that of most horror films, and Boorman's masterful direction gives it a gravity and emotional resonance that bring it close to the level of Dreyer's "Vampyr".

Let's hope the DVD release will bring new converts to this amazing work.

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18 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Is it that bad? Yes!!!

Author: guyfromjerzee from United States
26 November 2004

I'm always more curious to see the movies that are unanimously panned by critics and audiences alike, because half of the time I end up finding out that these movies aren't that bad. "The Exorcist II" is not one of those movies. It really is 180 degrees from its suspenseful predecessor. I've read reviews from critics that hated Richard Burton's performance, saying that he was awfully over-the-top. I actually feel that Burton's performance is one of the film's strong points. Despite the goofy plot, he maintains a straight face. And after reading that he was drunk during part of the shoot, it's pretty impressive that he can deliver such a convincing performance. The rest of the cast is good as well. Linda Blair looks cute as a button. But at nearly two hours, the movie goes on way too long. What else can I say? This movie is just plain dull! I stopped following the plot after a while, not because it got too complicated, but because I didn't care anymore. Let's just say that I just finished watching the movie a couple days ago, and it's already on sale on That alone shows you how much I appreciate this movie. (3 out of 10)

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

It's a mess but it is fascinating.

Author: Lucien Lessard from Canada
9 October 2010

Four years has passed... Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) was possessed by an demon. There was an exorcism performed by Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow) and Father Karras (The late Jason Miller). Father Lamont (The late Richard Burton) lost his faith, after an failed exorcism. The Cardinal (The late Paul Henreid) is asking Father Lamont to investigated on the late Father Merrin on heresy charges due on his controversial writings. He decided to meet Regan, now is Seventeen years old. Regan is living with her guardian Sharon (Kitty Winn) and Regan is seeing an hypnotic research specialist (Oscar-Winner:Louise Fletcher). Father Lamont is trying to find out, what truly happened to Father Merrin but he slowly discovers that the Demon, who possessed Regan hasn't truly left her body. He uncovers more of Father Merrin's past, when he did his first exorcism in Africa on a little boy. He decides to meet the former possessed soul (James Earl Jones) and try to find out, if Father Merrin made any mistakes in his past. While Regan is slowly remembering her dark past.

Directed by John Boorman (Deliverance, Excalibur, Zardoz) made an strange, messy, horror film with some (unfortunely) unintentional laughs. Blair does her best, she looks cute in most of the movie but she isn't an leading actress. The late Burton looks foolish at times with his unintentionally bad dialogue. Only Fletcher gives an memorable performance as an sympathetic doctor. This was an major box office disappointment, it was released in 1977. Which Boorman tried to re-cut the picture but it didn't help.

DVD has an fine anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1) transfer and an decent Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono Sound. DVD includes an Alternate Opening Sequence, an Teaser Trailer, Original Theatrical Trailer and Cast & Crew information. "The Exorcist 2:The Heretic" is a wild mess, it makes you wonder what Boorman and Screenwriter:William Goodhart original intentions were. Although this movie does an cult following. The biggest fan of "The Exorcist 2:The Heretic" is actually Oscar-Winning filmmaker:Martin Scorsese! This movie is best enjoyed with an open mind. The special effects does brings this movie to life at times but it is overdone by seeing Locusts on-screen, large or small. Which the feature looks pointless at times. (*** ½/*****).

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