Years before Father Lankester 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.
A police Lieutenant uncovers more than he bargained for as his investigation of a series of murders, which have all the hallmarks of the deceased Gemini serial killer, leads him to question the patients of a psychiatric ward.
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
The screenplay had a long and painful gestation process. William Peter Blatty refused to get involved, resulting in over a decade being spent trying to get a screenplay together, with the producers eventually settling on a draft by Caleb Carr, which incorporated elements from an earlier screenplay by William Wisher. See more »
When the tribes-people are performing their primitive ritualistic exorcism on Joseph in the infirmary and the demonic presence begins snapping the tribesmen's bones, one of the tribesmen sustains a compound fracture to his shin bone. The tribesman is in agony like the other men in his tribe with broken bones, yet they all "run" quickly out of the infirmary. Even if man with the snapped shin could somehow endure the pain to be able to move, he could not walk, much less run with a completely snapped shin bone. The tribesman would have fallen to the floor and one or more people would have had to lift or drag him out of the infirmary. That didn't happen in this scene. All the tribesmen are seen scurrying out of the infirmary to escape from the unseen presence that had just badly injured all of them. See more »
There's no denying that this Exorcist prequel is surplus to requirements in terms of movies that needed to be made; but in spite of that, it's actually not bad at all. The film was never going to be received well, due to the fact that it's a prequel to one of the greatest horror movies ever made, and of course the whole Paul Schrader fiasco; but I'm happy to report that The Exorcist: The Beginning has risen from amidst the chaos and turned out to be a very decent horror movie. The action takes place before the events of the classic 70's movie, but it still follows the same character - Father Merrin, who was played by the great Max Von Sydow in the original, and is brought to life by Stellan Skarsgård in this movie. We follow him as he joins a British expedition in Kenya after an ancient church that has been buried underground for hundreds of years has been uncovered. You know what's coming, and this discovery is a springboard for all kinds of evil to be inflicted on the surrounding village.
The film really falls down on the character side, as we never really get to know any of them and with the possible slight exception of the lead; not a single one has any depth. That's unimportant, however, as this film's main focus is definitely the atmosphere; and it's suitably malevolent throughout, which does the film no end of favours. The action is very slow, especially for the first hour, but it hardly matters as watching the plot bathe in the atmosphere is always entertaining enough, and while it is slow you can always count on something to happen that will get the excitement levels back up. The film features several shocking and disturbing sequences, my personal favourite being the hyena attack; with the stillborn birth coming a close second. The CGI in the film leaves a lot to be desired, especially on the aforementioned hyena attack, but the effects aren't too much of an important element anyway. When the film boils down to it's ending is when it really lets rip, and the final fifteen minutes or so deliver some really great horror. While this film doesn't even nearly touch the original; it's much better than you would think considering all the turmoil surrounding the release and on the whole I give it a thumbs up!
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