The Exorcist (1973)

Famous horror film about an exorcism on a 12 year old girl, Regan (Linda Blair) and a priest, Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller)’s efforts to rid her of the demon who has possessed her.

This film has garnered the reputation as quite the epitome of the demon-possession film. This archetype has been copied relentlessly in the horror movie genre ever since.

I knew of the film by reputation, and ended up watching it last month as one of my module’s set texts. Some moments of the film did prompt laughter in the other people in the room. I can see how upon original release it may have prompted extreme reactions (probably of fear) from people in the days before internet forums and Wikipedia, because at least we know what to expect. Or do we?

Over all, while I didn’t adore this film I didn’t hate it either. For me, it sat at a nice middle ground. There were certainly creepy moments and both Max Von Sydow and Jason Miller were good in their roles. Ellen Burstyn played the role of Regan’s actor mother, Chris, and the anguish and turmoil over her daughter getting possessed by the satanic demon seems very real. Some of the editing, which was supposed to come across as creepy, was just very annoying. However, the use of light/dark and shadow was mesmerizing.

So, ultimately, this film was not a stellar piece of cinema but just a good example of an exorcism film which is the prototype for the modern ones, it would seem.  Even though it seems like a massive metaphor for puberty.

MY RATING: ***.5 / *****

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