Time: 122 Minutes
Age Rating: Horror, Violence, Sex Scenes and Offensive Language.
Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil
Max von Sydow as Father Lankester Merrin
Jason Miller as Father/Dr. Damien Karras S.J.
Linda Blair as Regan MacNeil
Lee J. Cobb as Lieutenant William F. Kinderman
Jack MacGowran as Burke Dennings
Director: William Friedkin
An actress (Ellen Burstyn) calls upon Jesuit priests to try to end the demonic possession of her 12-year-old daughter (Linda Blair).
I’ll just say this right now, there was never a moment during The Exorcist where I felt scared. To be fair though, there have been only two movies that have scared me (Sinister and The Babadook). I’m just mentioning this at the beginning of the review because despite Exorcist being crowned as the scariest movie of all time, I didn’t feel anything scary at all. With that said, The Exorcist is still worth the praise for the direction and acting. It took this possession story as seriously as possible and makes it seem somewhat possible (mostly), and it definitely has its place in cinematic history. It just seems like I’m one of the rare few people who don’t find The Exorcist to be that scary.
When you go into The Exorcist, don’t expect a jumpscare kind of movie, this is more of a tension filled horror movie, at least in terms of the direction it was going in. This movie is quite drawn out, so also be prepared to be waiting for a little while before the actual possession and ‘scares’ start to happen. As I said earlier, the movie just flat out didn’t scare me. I don’t know why, it’s more tension filled horror, which I usually like more (like the Babadook) but I just didn’t really care much about this plot. It’s also not a good sign when this movie does have some laughable moments, particularly with possessed Regan. The pictures of her were honestly scarier than the actual scenes of her. Even though I wasn’t scared during them, I still maintain the scenes with possessed Regan are the best and when it cuts away from them, the movie is still interesting, they just weren’t as interesting as those other scenes.
Despite my issues with the movie, I will say the acting does hold up quite well. Actors like Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow and Jason Miller performed very well and took their roles very seriously. I think the show stealer however was Linda Blair, who did very well both when she was and wasn’t possessed, however it was obvisouly the latter aspect that impressed me the most. My issues with her character when she was possessed came mostly from the writing, and even in those ‘odd’ moments, Blair played her part magnificently.
As I said earlier, this movie didn’t scare me but there’s no denying that the direction of this movie is excellent. The makeup, lighting and overall direction of the movie made the idea of a possessed girl seem somehow plausible. I think the look on possessed Regan was absolutely fantastic, it looked somehow realistic, much more so than most possession movies of today. All the scenes with her were beautifully directed, which is one of the reasons that I liked them more than the scenes without possessed Regan. After seeing this movie, I can at least appreciate and understand why this movie was such a hit, it was ahead of its time.
If you are into horror movies and haven’t seen The Exorcist, you definitely should check it out as soon as possible. The fantastic direction and performances really make the viewing worth it, and the film had a tremendous effect on the horror genre in general. Even if this movie doesn’t hold up well as a horror movie today in my opinion, it should be seen for how well made it is. Just don’t go into it expecting the horror masterpiece that everyone claims it to be, or you might be a little disappointed like I was.