The Exorcism Review

REVIEW: The Exorcism

Demonic possession and exorcist films appear to be experiencing a revival of late, with last year’s The Pope’s Exorcist and sequel The Exorcist: Believer. The Exorcism is the latest film in the genre to hit our screens and with an unofficial link to the original Exorcist and Russell Crowe hot off the surprisingly successful The Pope’s Exorcist, you’d be forgiven for having high expectations. Unfortunately, the final result just doesn’t hit the mark.

The story follows a film studio as they remake a famous exorcist film (never explicitly stated as being The Exorcist). After the actor playing priest Father Arlington is killed in an accident on set after hours, it opens up an opportunity for washed-out actor Anthony Miller (Russell Crowe). He’s suffered from addictions in the past, the death of his wife and an estranged relationship with his daughter Lee (Ryan Simpkins), and the film is an opportunity for him to kickstart his career.

The Exorcism Review

Despite a questionable audition where Anthony is pushed by director Peter (Adam Goldberg) to get the best out of him, Anthony gets the role and celebrates by having a party to meet the cast and crew, including actor and fellow “exorcist” Joe (Sam Worthington), on-set consultant Father Conor (David Hyde Pierce) and actor of the possessed child Blake (Chloe Bailey).

Lee is employed as Anthony’s PA on set and becomes close to Blake, while Anthony struggles with his role due to past trauma as a child in the catholic church. As filming progresses Anthony’s struggles worsen and his behaviour becomes erratic, including self-harm, sleepwalking and an inability to perform his role as a priest. Mysterious accidents begin to occur on set and it soon becomes clear that something is seriously wrong with Anthony, and it’s up to Lee, Blake and Father Conor to save him.

The Exorcism Review

After enjoying The Pope’s Exorcist a lot more than I ever expected, I’d hoped that another Russell Crowe exorcism film would be just as fun and entertaining, but sadly The Exorcism is far from it. The first hour is incredibly dull, it’s more of a family drama than a horror film and takes an age to actually get to the point where something exciting happens. And when something exciting does finally happen, it’s so ridiculously over the top and bonkers that it’s laughably bad and just had me shaking my head in despair. The meta idea behind this film, a demonic possession on the set of an exorcist film remake, is brilliant but they’ve squandered this in favour of something that just doesn’t make any sense. There are at least a couple of genuinely creepy moments and one notable jump scare that nearly had me out of my seat, but these just weren’t enough to boost the rest of the drawn-out and boring scenes. For a film with a very short runtime clocking in at just over 90 minutes, it felt like it was on for a lifetime.

Crowe does surprisingly well with what he’s given, but there’s only so far he can take it when his character seems to go from struggling actor to a demonic monster with a flick of a switch. The rest of the cast doesn’t fare much better. Simpkins and Bailey are likeable but their shoehorned in romance is very thin and not necessary at all as it doesn’t contribute to the main story, and Sam Worthington is left with virtually nothing. David Hyde Pierce, in his first film role in fourteen years, is totally squandered. You can see glimpses of his brilliance but it’s nowhere near enough, which is such a shame as it’s great to see him back.

The Exorcism had a lot of potential in its meta storyline and promising cast, but sadly this was wasted and the end result manages to be boring, confused and completely ridiculous.

Where to Watch

The Exorcism | June 21, 2024 (United Kingdom) 4.4


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