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.
While filming a haunted asylum in St. Louis, Missouri, documentary filmmakers uncover a secret diary of the infamous 1949 exorcism involving a 13 year old boy possessed by the devil that later inspired the book and movie "The Exorcist".
Christopher Saint Booth,
Philip Adrian Booth
Christopher Saint Booth,
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
I watched Schrader's "Dominion" in the morning and Harlin's "Beginning" in the afternoon, hoping that watching them back to back would make a comparison easier than for most people who waited a year until the deleted version by Schrader was finally released. Renny Harlin used only a few minutes from the already existing footage, so "Beginning" really became a new movie. But unfortunately, the whole effort of re-shooting didn't make the movie better.
In Harlin's "remake", we get a smart young priest, straight from the Vatican (James D'Arcy) who has received all the information about the buried church in advance. In "Dominion", Gabriel Mann played an innocent priest who does not expect anything terrible, he just wants to start a school in the middle of Africa. The latter was the better screenplay idea in my opinion, because D'Arcy is such a cool "professional" that we don't really care about him, whereas Mann was a character the audience loves for his human feelings. Also there is more mystery in "Domionion" whereas "Beginning" once explained the whole background, and that was it - too easy.
"Beginning" has a lot more gory effects, swarms of ugly insects and its demon uses obscenities in same way Linda Blair did in the original "Exorcist" movie. This will probably entertain people who just want a horror movie and nothing else. Mind you, "Beginning" also has good photography, a few unforgettable moments like the battlefield at the beginning and good actors! But the release of the original version "Dominion" proved that the story has had more potential, Schrader worked more careful with the characters and their relationships and gave more food for thought. I voted 6/10 for "Beginning" and 8/10 for "Dominion".
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