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STUDIO: Warner Bros.
MSRP: $24.99
RUNNING TIME: 116 min.

The Pitch

“Why watch Stellan battle Pazuzu in the past in a piss poor Exorcist film once when you can watch it twice in the form of two separate piss poor Exorcist films?”

The Humans

Stellan Skarsgård. Clara Bellar. Gabriel Mann. Billy Crawford. Pazuzu.

The Nutshell

"If you keep staring at me like that I’ll have them do a third one, asshole".

When I reviewed the Renny Harlin version of this film, I had it in my head that I was seeing the shit version of the movie and the really cool one lurked on the horizon. Now, having seen Paul Schrader’s movie I have to give a message to Warner Bros.

You were wise to hide this pile from audiences. You were wise to replace the director. You were wise to assume that audiences would abhor this movie. Renny Harlin’s film may be bad but at least it’s bad in a way that is entertaining. This is filth, and I like Paul Schrader. Now I realize that doesn’t precluding him from hating me, which he obviously does.

The IKEA store in Midian opened to great success.

The Lowdown

Father Merrin (the one true Stellan) has lost his faith. Perhaps it was because he felt the oncoming swell of Creationism. Maybe he longed for sins of the flesh. It might have been that the evocative literature of the time swayed him.

Or perhaps it was the Nazi slaughter he was forced to participate in. As in the Harlin film, Merrin must choose the people whose lives serve as an example as a Nazi commander ruthlessly showers them in hot lead. Living in a bottle, he is summoned to an archaeological dig in Africa when a fully preserved church is unearthed amid puzzling circumstances.

By puzzling, I mean it’s a haven for the foul.

"A little gamey, could use a side of Siegfried."

The main difference between the films aside from the presence of more earnest performers is the choice of a lame beggar (Billy Crawford, a pop star in Asia and an actor NOWHERE) as the demonically stricken as opposed to a young boy. Another difference is that this film moves about as briskly as if Old Man Winter was in the editing room. When the clock reached the fifty-five minute mark I was wondering if I was watching an Exorcist prequel or this was a real-life The Ring where instead of killing me with her goth musk, Samara had the video kill me Sarlaac style over a thousand years.

It’s extremely slow. The special effects are some of the worst I’ve seen in the past two decades. The CGI jackals are animated as if to bring back memories of Harryhausen stuff, and not in a respectful way. It’s all just odd and though Schrader meant to craft a thought provoking and intelligent horror movie it just doesn’t cut that way.

The Harlin film was as subtle as a Mack Truck to the genitalia, but I honestly enjoyed his extremely untasteful moments of gore and generic and overdone climax more than the slow burn (in Hell) and silly lightshow offered here and though Stellan is always worth watching, he doesn’t evoke much of the juice Max Von Sydow did in the original and a truly iconic film character (like Darth Vader before him) is stripped of what made him special.

Did you get that I hated this film?

There’s a commentary track, which I thought might be the most controversial ever recorded considering the circumstances but instead it just creaks along slowly and makes me with it had been recorded three years previous when Schrader was full of piss and vinegar over the whole ordeal. Sadly, the resulting DVD offers very little in terms of film and its supplements. You’ve avoided it this long, no need to concern yourself with it now.

2.5 out of 10