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Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)

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Ratings: 5.1/10 from 26,737 users   Metascore: 30/100
Reviews: 303 user | 165 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

Years before Father Lancaster Merrin helped save Regan MacNeil's soul, he first encounters the demon Pazuzu in East Africa. This is the tale of Father Merrin's initial battle with Pazuzu and the rediscovery of his faith.

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(movie The Exorcist), (story) (as William Wisher) , 2 more credits »
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Director: Paul Schrader
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Joseph
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...
...
...
Semelier
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Father Gionetti
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Jefferies
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Eddie Osei ...
Israel Oyelumade ...
Jomo (as Israel Aduramo)
Patrick O'Kane ...
Bession
James Bellamy ...
James
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Storyline

Archeologist Lankester Merrin is asked to go to East Africa to excavate a church that has been found completely buried in sand. Merrin is also an ordained Roman Catholic priest who, still haunted by what he was forced to do during World War II in his native Holland, eschews any religion or belief. He's fascinated by what he finds and that it dates hundred of years before Christianity was introduced to the area. Accompanied by a young priest, Father Francis, to keep an eye on the religious elements of what they find, Merrin makes his way to the camp. There he meets a young doctor, Sarah and soon realizes there is an air of gloom that envelops the entire site. Workmen go mad and a young boy is mauled by a pack of hyenas while completely ignoring his younger brother Joseph. Inside the church itself they find signs of desecration. Merrin is forced to re-examine his lack of faith and come face to face with the devil. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A new chapter of evil See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and gore, disturbing images and rituals, and for language including some sexual dialogue | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 August 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Exorcist IV: The Beginning  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$976,952 (France) (19 November 2004)

Gross:

$2,689,909 (Brazil) (10 December 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Unrated Version)

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several changes followed the firing of Paul Schrader, both in crew and cast. Screenwriter Alexi Hawley was called to retool the previous script, and he cut off some characters of Paul Schrader's version, besides adding some new ones, like the one played by actress Izabella Scorupco. Actor Gabriel Mann, who played Father Francis in the original version, was not able to re-shoot his scenes due to schedule problems, so new director Renny Harlin replaced him with James D'Arcy. See more »

Goofs

When Sarah walks through the hospital with the candle, the light emitted by the candle varies extremely. Then when the light and radio go on, one can clearly see that the candle is just a replica made of plastic. See more »

Quotes

Sarah: This place... it's cursed.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Exorcist: The Beginning - Behind the Scenes (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Sengenya
Composed by David Bradnum
Provided by Associated Production Music LLC
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Before Regan and Merrin Met
5 September 2005 | by (NC) – See all my reviews

Director Renny Harlin creates an intriguing, interesting prequel to the events shown in The Exorcist and its two sequels. This film follows Father Merrin to East Africa, initially having given up his priesthood, where his expertise has been called upon to explain some ancient temple that had been unearthed from the sand and dirt at a major archaeological dig site. The temple is in pristine shape and has some major anti-Church motifs abounding. Merrin soon realizes a demon exists and...well, you get the general picture. This film worked for me for a number of reasons: it is story driven as well as effects driven, it has solid acting, great location shots, and a strangely, highly flawed script that does create interest. The last half of the film begins to bog down under the weight of some of the makeup and special effects, but never to the point of overtaking the film and its atmosphere. And atmosphere is one thing this film has plenty of. I especially liked the way the character of Father Merrin was treated. He is a flawed man with an interesting past that the film delves into through flashbacks. These flashback scenes are effectively done and help make Merrin all the more real. The acting of Stellan Skarsgard in the role is the film's principal strength along with some innovative camera-work. Sure, much of the script is hokey hooey and will not make terribly much sense - I'm still not sure what happened in the end, but the film works nonetheless for the aforementioned reasons. I was pleasantly surprised despite some pre-conceived ideas going into the film.


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