In 1973 we got a movie that changed horror forever, traumatizing thousands because of its dark as hell themes and realistic effects that hold up remarkably well today, almost 50 years later. Directer William Friedkin (Bug ) took the terrifying book by William Peter Blatty and pulled no punches.
The Exorcist follows the demonic possession of Reagan MacNeil, a 12 year old little girl and the two priests that come together to take on the daunting task. The intro to the movie we meet Father Merrin at an archaeological excavation in the Middle East, culminating in a stare down with a freaky looking statue we get a foreboding dread he has encountered before. Across the world, Reagan is with her mother, a successful actress, as small, strange things begin to happen. Her mother doesn’t notice until a disturbing sight happens at a big party she throws, leading to sights nothing within reason can explain. Reagan turns violent, having violent seizures and physically striking at the doctors trying to help her. Enter Father Damien Karras, a priest dealing with the loss of faith after his mother’s health plummets and dies; Chris, Reagan’s mother, reaches out to Karras who inspects Reagan and comes to the dark conclusion about her possession. Can Merrin and Karras save her soul and expel the demon?
The possession sub genre hasn’t been my favorite, for every The Exorcism of Emily Rose there’s a The Devil Inside but the Exorcist is honestly the greatest and undeniable progenitor of the sub genre. The effects are damn good, even today when CGI has taken over film land. The acting is amazing and the characters are strong. I will say the movie is slow, with decent gaps between scares where we see the characters develop, but some modern audiences may frown upon that. Horror fans and film buffs alike, this is a must watch. May the gaming gods bring you glory.