THE EXORCISM – “A genre game changer? No. Creepy and captivating? Yes”

exorcism

RATING

DIRECTOR

Directed by: Joshua John Miller

MAIN CAST

Russell Crowe as Anthony Miller
Sam Worthington as Joe
Ryan Simpkins as Lee Miller
Chloe Bailey as Blake Holloway
David Hyde Pierce as Father Conor
Marcenae Lynette as Monica
Tracey Bonner as Regina
Samantha Mathis as Jennifer Simon
Adrian Pasdar as Tom
Adam Goldberg as Peter

SYNOPSIS

A troubled actor begins to unravel while shooting a horror film. His estranged daughter wonders if he's slipping back into his past addictions or if there's something more sinister at play.

REVIEW SUMMARY

A genre game changer? No. Creepy and captivating? Yes. Joshua John Miller’s The Exorcism is mostly a run-of-the-mill demonic possessor flick that doesn’t add anything new to the overrun exorcism genre. Seriously, how has no film been able to come close to the benchmark set by the OG king of exorcist films, The Exorcist, in over five decades? What this film does having going for it, however, is an intriguing meta premise. And while the “cursed movie set” plot isn’t based on any true story or anything, there are plenty of real-life tales out there about “haunted” film productions - the aforementioned The Exorcist being one of them. I guess, then, it’s no coincidence that our director’s dad, Jason Miller, was a starring actor in that very film. But regardless of where The Exorcism gets its narrative cues from, there remains something incredibly interesting about watching the inner workings of a “movie within a movie.” There’s also some great sets and production design elements that make it all visually stimulating. Unfortunately, the film’s frights are pretty paltry, not to mention predictable. Credit to lead Russell Crowe though, as the veteran actor is wholly convincing in his on-screen transformations. Let’s just say he makes for quite the menacing sight by the time the “demon” takes over. But while the horror aspects are lukewarm (at best), the dramatic moments land a lot better. That’s because the film isn’t just about a supernatural-tainted film shoot, it’s also about the reconnecting of a father and daughter. In fact, there’s lots of depth to the relationship between Crowe’s Miller and Ryan Simpkin as Lee. There are also great parallels made between “possessions” caused by substance abuse and that of the demonic sort. It’s not the first horror movie to play with themes of familial redemption and recovery, but it surely executes its messages well. So, while The Exorcism won’t have you putting it on any kind of horror movie pedestal, it will surely summon enough interest to make the whole thing more than watchable.

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