Exorcist: The Beginning

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: -3

Content: -4

This horror film is the prequel to the disturbing 1973 film The Exorcist about a young girl possessed by the devil and a priest sent to remove the demon. This time, Father Merrin (Stellan Skarsgard) is a younger man working on a dig in Africa when an ancient church is uncovered in remarkably good condition. It turns out that this is the sight of an ancient battleground where soldiers turned on each other and killed each other all except one. This is apparently the place where Lucifer was sent, and evil dominates the area. Now that the church is uncovered, evil is about to be unleashed again. Father Merrin, who has become disillusioned with God as a result of witnessing horrible atrocities to his parishioners under Nazi domination, now must decide if he will return to his faith as he is soon to come face to face with evil.

Filled with disturbing images, Exorcist: The Beginning is a look at the devil from an unbiblical viewpoint. The disillusioned priest does not believe in evil as an entity but rather as the condition of man. A woman to whom the priest is attracted becomes possessed and then uses obscene language to ask if he will have sex with her. This is the type of film that can give people nightmares as demonic images are flashed across the screen. A priest uses holy water and a crucifix to chase the demon, and he also reads from a prayer book. Also upsetting is the fact that children were used in this horrific film: a child is possessed and thrashes about, a young boy is torn apart by a pack of hyenas, children are seen being shot in the head at close range, and a mother gives birth to a baby that is covered in maggots. Add this film to the top of your never even consider list.

Preview Reviewer: Alan Boyer
Warner Brothers

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (3) times mild (damn 1); strong (ass 2)

Obscene Language: Several (5) times strong (f-word 4, other 1)

Profanity: Few (2) times moderate (G 1); strong (GD 1)

Violence: Many times moderate (fighting, stabbing and shooting during two battle sequences, aftermath of battle with thousands of dead bodies, hundreds of men crucified on crosses upside down); strong (woman comes out of shower and discovers blood pouring from her crotch, mutilated bodies seen several times, man has swastika carved in chest and then cuts his own throat, young boy torn apart by pack of hyenas, mother gives birth to maggot-covered baby, blood-covered room filled with flies, demon-possessed boy unleashes demonic power onto those who would hurt him on several occasions)

Sex: Few times moderate (demon-possessed woman attacks man and simulates sex with clothes on)

Nudity: Few times mild (woman seen wearing slip, woman pulls down top and partially exposes breasts); moderate (woman in shower seen from back and side briefly)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Strong (demon-possessed woman uses obscene language to ask if priest would like to have sex with her)

Drugs: Mild (smoking and alcohol use)

Other: None

Running Time: 114 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.