Bendik Kaalaas’s review published on Letterboxd:
While I was watching The Exorcist I wasn't very scared, but I have to admit that the short trip to the bathroom after the film was finished was a tense one. This horror classic is certainly a creepy film. Without using cheap scare tactics, William Friedkin slowly builds up to an incredible climax with highly evocative lighting, camera work and beautifully grotesque practical effects.
The acting is superb, with a wonderful cast, most notably Ellen Burstyn as the mother, Linda Blair as her posessed daughter, Jason Miller as the priest/psychiatrist, Lee J. Cobb as the police detective and last but definitely not least Max von Sydow as the priest that's called to perform the exorcism. They're all given interesting characters as well, and the dialogue and interaction between them is a joy to watch. It's also a joy, albeit a harrowing one, to watch the posessed 12-year-old girl, or rather the devil, scream and growl the most foul profanities towards anyone who tries to come near her. I can imagine the controversy that must have caused when it was released over 40 years ago.
Even today it's remarkable how well it has aged, with more than a couple of immortal and iconic scenes, like the infamous spider-walk scene, the vomiting scene, "the power of Christ compels you" and so on. It has a very creepy mood throughout the entire film, with one of the most iconic horror themes setting the tone perfectly. The themes of death and loss of faith also helps this notion, and are dealt with in a very interesting manner.
It's hard to find much wrong with The Exorcist. It's arguably the most iconic and infamous film ever made, and after finally watching it it's not hard to understand why. It makes me wonder why I didn't watch it before, I will definitely have to watch more of these horror classics, it's not the genre I'm most familiar with. The Exorcist definitely has five-star potential when given a rewatch. It's a masterpiece.