The Exorcist

The Exorcist ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Movie 17 in my October's Horror film a day.

The movie tells the demonic possession of twelve-year-old Regan MacNeil, and the two priests that try to save her.

It took me years, even after I got into horror films, to gather myself to watch this one. It was both the reputation the movie has as very disturbing and that I already knew some spoilers about it, which kept me away. Then a few years back I got myself some balls and watch it. I loved it and also realized that the creepy fame wasn’t unfounded.

Is the kind of movie, especially horror film that it’s rarely make this days. The pace is slow and there is a big focus on build up. This a long with the way the film is told makes it unpopular with some of the more inpatient audiences from today, who usually think of it as boring and not scary, although that’s the same public that thinks Hostel is a masterpiece.

There are very famous scenes and moments that have become inconic, they are very creepy and unsettling, but at the end, what makes the exorcist scary is more than this scenes. As I already said, the movie is patient and takes its time setting up characters and plots. So way before everything starts to become a nightmare for Regan and her mother, they have been introduced and we quickly become invested on them. They are well written and have the kind of sweet and caring relationship that, usually, in movies means something horrible is coming, but it’s done in a very natural way, is not forced. This also applies to Father Karras, he is a well-rounded and sad character, a man that has fallen out of love with god and is not sure of what is his place in the church or life anymore. Who this characters are is not only important to the plot but also to making the movie scary. The torment of Reagan is important, she is a kid, a sweet kid at that; and it’s very disturbing to see a child in pain, but at the end killing her or making her suffer is not the main objective of the demon, given the chance he will do it, but what he truly wants, is to use Reagan to destroy other people, to torment Chris MacNeil and everyone it gets remotely near. Is because of that the change and progression of Reagan’s suffering is only half of what makes this movie terrifying, the other half is to watch the progression of the change and suffering that Chris and the other people in the house are going thru and realizing that the demon is winning .

The direction is amazing, is very patient and methodical. The acting is superb Ellen Burstyn is amazing, her role calls for a lot of crying and general desperation, this in the hands of a lesser actress would of made the character annoying or even comical, buy Burstyn brings a certain level of anger and determination to every scene that makes it realistic and great. Jason miller is Damien Karras, he is a kind and thoughtful but also incredibly sad and has an inner desperation building up inside him during the whole movie. Max Von Sydow is great as father Merrin Playing old and sick but also strong and ominous. The effects are amazing, this includes one of the best old man makeup I have ever seen.

For me the main theme of the movie is protecting the people next to you. During the exorcism Father Merrin remains strong, going head to head with the demon, never letting it inside his head and showing and incredibly powerful will, something inside him is giving him strength to be more than an old man. So then why he dies? The movie even implies very heavily that the demon itself kills him, well for me he dies because he goes in alone. For most of the exorcism he has Damien with him, who is obviously more susceptible to the demon’s taunts and tricks and because of that he is the main target of them. So in reality Merrin is not only trying to save Reagan but he is also protecting Damien, he can’t has doubts and he can’t be scared. So when he goes alone he is weaker because the demon is focusing only in him and what gave him the strength to keep going it not there. So when Merrin dies, Damien reacts in a very basic and instinctive way, by beating the shit out of the demon and by making it jump into him, he knows that he is not strong enough to beat it in an exorcism but when it comes down to save Reagan from himself, he finds the faith and strength to sacrifice himself. At the end religion and faith are not only about our love for god or any kind of love, there is something more basic there, the need to protect not only ourselves but others from danger.

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