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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly Surprised, some shocking scenes
I was actually quite impressed with this prequal, a lot of background storey to take in, sometimes gets a little heavy, but where this movie shines, is from the half way point to the end, where things really start to happen, there was no expense spared on shocking and voilent scenes in this film, especially the hyena scene. And has a great twist too.
Watch it for the...
Published on 27 April 2005 by UK Midlands Horror Fan

versus
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good and bad in equal measure
It's hard to be cruel to the film in light of the troubled production history - and it's a fool that continues to compare every sequel to the original (the 70's are dead, folks - studio and audience tastes have changed).
The film is quite well paced, the performances are - generally - strong, but it is let down by a ridiculous exorcism at the end that veers into OTT...
Published on 8 Oct. 2005 by Ian Armer


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good and bad in equal measure, 8 Oct. 2005
By 
Ian Armer (Lancashire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Exorcist: The Beginning [DVD] (DVD)
It's hard to be cruel to the film in light of the troubled production history - and it's a fool that continues to compare every sequel to the original (the 70's are dead, folks - studio and audience tastes have changed).
The film is quite well paced, the performances are - generally - strong, but it is let down by a ridiculous exorcism at the end that veers into OTT campery that would make Joel Schumacher blush!
If anything, the film suffers from being the dumbed down version that the studio wanted instead of Paul Schrader's original (now released as "Dominion").
Extras are limited, but Harlin's commentary is frank and the trailer is noteworthy because it's for Dominion!
Not as terrible as everybody makes out - but more of a curio than something you'd like to own because it's a fantastic film. It isn't, but it isn't the worst movie ever made either.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching, 4 Jan. 2008
By 
Persona Synthetic (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Exorcist: The Beginning [DVD] (DVD)
Quite good overall. Forget all the silly stuff about comparing it to the original; I don't know why people feel re-makes, sequels, prequels etc somehow devalue an existing film, in this case The Exorcist. Don't watch them if you feel your thoughts or feelings for one film are going to be sullied by watching another film altogether. The rest of us are capable of seperating in our minds one piece of work from another and appreciating them (or not) in isolation and as two seperate pieces of work.
Anyway, The Exorcist The Beginning charts Father Merrin from the original Exorcist hired to find an artifact in the ruins of an ancient church somewhere in Africa after the Second World War and discovering that this place is where Lucifer fell to Earth upon being cast out from heaven. Some of the CGI effects are a little ropey, most of the other special effects are perfectly fine, the story is also perfectly acceptable although I would agree with another respondent that the final scene is over long and rather over done. It's not the original Exorcist of course but who expected that? It's just a reasonably good horror film about the devil, possession etc with nods to both The Exorcist and The Omen amongst others and is an entertaining two hours or so watch.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly Surprised, some shocking scenes, 27 April 2005
By 
UK Midlands Horror Fan (Staffordshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Exorcist: The Beginning [DVD] (DVD)
I was actually quite impressed with this prequal, a lot of background storey to take in, sometimes gets a little heavy, but where this movie shines, is from the half way point to the end, where things really start to happen, there was no expense spared on shocking and voilent scenes in this film, especially the hyena scene. And has a great twist too.
Watch it for the nasty scene's at least, its well worth it
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie, 8 April 2014
This review is from: Exorcist: The Beginning [DVD] (DVD)
I really enjoyed this movie.

Like all the Exorcist sequels it is flawed but it is a gem nonetheless.

Nothing can compare to the original classic movie - but all the subsequent movies are pretty good and they certainly stand up well when compared to the woeful Jaws sequels (bar Jaws 2 which was good). Or the closest relation - The Omen movies. The original movie is a classic gem of horror and suspense and the second one was good. But - "oh my" - the third installment. Not so good. And the "fourth" (oh dear) so called Omen movie? Lets not go there, okay?

I would watch this movie and Dominion and enjoy them on their own merits. I found the possessed woman in "The Beginning" somewhat trying as I found the possessed boy in "Dominion" trying as well. And both movies are pretty convoluted.

My advice would be to get a box set of all the movies and see them together and watch them individually.

You are bound to get something from all the subsequent movies. The Exorcist III is pretty scary in places and very tense.

My one big criticism of the prequel movies is that they do not have a straight forward demon possession thread running through them - so that aspect does get somewhat buried among the incidental sub plots.

Nevertheless - the story of a man struggling with a terrible guilt set against ancient adversaries is intriguing and inventive.

But you might not realize you were watching an Exorcist movie however and this is why I have marked it down.

Aside from the Exorcist references such as the Babylonian-like nods (why didn't they go with that? Why not move the action to the Middle East with is ancient biblical deities?) of the original and the possessed Regan-like woman - this movie is a substantial horror flick of it's own with some shocks up it's sleeve.

It has a lot of merits that stand it in good stead.

The cast is outstanding - the fantastic Stellan Skarsgard deserves to be commended for his excellent performance. We also have the British actor's Julian Wadham (brilliant), James D'Arcy and Ralph Brown too.

Over all - this is a good movie with a great cast and I hope you enjoy it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars No masterpiece, no classic, but still a pretty good genre movie., 17 April 2007
By 
Ivan Lietaert "Ivan L." (Slypskapelle, Belgium) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Exorcist: The Beginning [DVD] (DVD)
It is unclear to me why this movie was slashed by the professional film critics. (Rotten Tomatoes gives it only 10%). If you're into the exorcist genre, you'll enjoy the atmosphere, the nice photography, score and acting. There's no post-Scream irony and sarcasm here, no Saw-gore, just good oldfashioned exorcising with a priest fighting a demon while trying to regain his faith. If you liked the original for the right reasons, I'm pretty sure you'll like this prequel also, just like I did. This is no masterpiece, no classic, but still a pretty good genre movie.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good night in, not as good as Dominion though., 23 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Exorcist: The Beginning [DVD] (DVD)
I couldn't decide which film to buy so I bought both this and the alternative version (Dominion) as used disks on Amazon at great prices. I enjoyed both films but Dominion was definitely the better of the two. This one didn't have the suspense I like, just a bit of blood and gore. Dominion did a better job for true horror fans. I'd love to see an 18 cert version of either film. And if you combined the best of both, now that would be a great film.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I was possesed with boredom!, 24 April 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Exorcist: The Beginning [DVD] (DVD)
After reading the reviews on Amazon, I was expecting this film to be quite good -not as good as the original, but good none the less.
About 10 minutes in, I was bored. 30 minutes in, I was very bored. And near the end, I went out of my mind with boredom.
The reason I have been so generous to give this 2 stars, is because of the OK end sequences.
Overall, not worth wasting ur money on!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mindlessly entertaining, 3 July 2008
By 
D. Brusca (Derbyshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Exorcist: The Beginning [DVD] (DVD)
Mindlessly entertaining prequel starring the always dependable Stellan Skarsgard. I wasn't expecting much but have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed it. It would be interesting to compare it with Paul Schrader's completed film of the same name, which the studio rejected and buried before bringing in Renny Harlin to do this version.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining, 19 Jan. 2006
This review is from: Exorcist: The Beginning [DVD] (DVD)
This is a fantastic prequel to the awesome Exorcist. Excellent acting and great twist at the end. Scary as well. The coyote scene was a bit daft because it was computer generated effects but apart from that any horror fan this is a must see.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly worthy prequel to The Exorcist, 31 Oct. 2005
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Exorcist: The Beginning [DVD] (DVD)
I was quite prepared to be less than enthusiastic about this prequel to one of the truly immortal films of all time. The unfortunate death of John Frankenheimer, the original director, fanned rumors that the whole production was cursed, there's a lot of talk about the original version of this prequel being abandoned by yet another director (Paul Schrader), and I heard almost no one in my circle of acquaintances discussing this film at all after its release. The whole idea of prequels is also pretty tricky in and of itself, as even the great George Lucas has learned. I really didn't bring too many expectations of any kind with me into Exorcist: The Beginning, and maybe that's why I was actually quite impressed by what I saw. Stellan Skarsgard, it must be said, turns in an excellent performance as Father Merrin. This really is an excellent film and, in my opinion, a worthy prequel to The Exorcist.
Don't go in looking for projectile vomiting and head-spinning; this is not The Exorcist. There is a surprising amount of depth here for those willing to immerse themselves in the story. There will be demonic special effects for all those who care only about that kind of thing, but you will have to wait a little longer than you might like to see them. Exorcist: The Beginning is not really about Lucifer or demonic possession or even exorcism per se; this story is really about Father Merrin and how this great man of the cloth lost and then regained the faith that would later transform him into the man we all know as The Exorcist. Humanity and faith are always more powerful themes than evil and doubt - less exciting, perhaps, but much more meaningful.
The action here takes place in 1949 in eastern Africa, where a Christian church has recently been unearthed by archaeologists - a Christian church that dates back to a time long before Christianity made its way to that part of the world. Merrin, then an ex-priest, is charged with aiding the dig and locating an iconic sculpture of a demon's head. The situation on the ground (which is said to be the spot where Lucifer originally fell after he was cast down from heaven) is less than ideal: local tribesmen are afraid that a great evil will emerge from the buried structure, the British army is wary of a tribal rebellion there, and decay and misery (not to mention flies and less savory insects) seem to engulf everything in the humid atmosphere. The original leader of the expedition has been consumed by madness, a number of men have disappeared, and Merrin finds scenes of desecration inside the ancient walls of the church (including the proverbial upside-down cross of Jesus). Soon, a local boy is taken ill after witnessing a traumatic event, begins showing signs of possible demonic possession - and then everything really starts to fall apart around Merrin. The film may move too slowly for some viewers for the first hour, but I think the director did a wonderful job of building suspense for the showdown we all know is yet to come. The ancient, remarkably preserved church hides many secrets of a most unsavory nature, and it is here that Merrin's lack of faith in the God he once served is eventually challenged by a manifestation of evil powerful enough to break down the formidable barriers he has placed around his tortured soul.
The reasons for Father Merrin turning his back on God and the church serve as the emotional centerpiece for all that is to come. It is hard to imagine the Father Merrin we know from The Exorcist having ever abandoned his faith or entertained unholy thoughts, but this prequel makes clear, in the most poignant ways possible, how such a tragedy transpired. Merrin is a man truly and justifiably haunted by his memories. It takes a face-to-face meeting with evil incarnate for Merrin to find what he has lost in himself and in his God. The final confrontation, which comes with something of a twist, is almost anti-climactic, largely because the job is much easier than it should be (very little of the battle is waged on psychological grounds). The special effects are well-done, but a lot of the R rated material here seems contrived, actually taking something away from the power of the film's story of redemption lost and regained.
This is really quite a dark film, as you might expect, but more so for the psychological and human aspects of the story than for the outwardly demonic manifestations of evil. There is a significant amount of gore and demonic symbolism in the film, but my reactions to the film were much more internal than external. Obviously, Exorcist: The Beginning didn't deliver what many Exorcist fans expected of it but that does not make it a bad movie. In my opinion, this film is vastly underrated.
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