← Back to Reviews

The Exorcist

The Exorcist (1973) R

The power of Christ compels you!

12-year-old Regan starts to behave erratically. At first her mother takes the girl to doctor, then to psychiatrist and finally she gets help from the mother church in the form of an exorcism.

Like The Entity above The Exorcist begins with realistic approach to situation. I don't know if the division between psychiatry and traditional medicine was really that strict back in the 70s but other than that the process felt believable and the growing threat from not getting any answers was built well. Also for someone who doesn't like needles the arteriogram scene is still one of most unpleasant scenes I know.

Unlike The Entity there is no drop in quality towards the end in The Exorcist. I'm an atheist myself but religion is good material for stories. Possession and exorcism were much better plot choices than humbug scientists and a liquid helium trap. In all the movie there might be a few minutes worth of material that could have been dropped to make the film little tighter but otherwise it's nearly perfect.

Acting is top notch by everyone but especially Max von Sydow who at 44 (or 43) looks and feels like a frail old man. Linda Blair does excellent job as a foul mouthed possessed girl (even though the voice isn't hers) as well as normal, scared little girl. It's pretty much perfect cast in every role which is really rare.

Cinematography is good and supports the film's sad (yes, I think it's more sad than scary) tone well. There are some beautifully set shots like the arrival of Merrin that used to be film's poster. There isn't much music which feels like a good decision but what little is there is good. Effects are pretty nice for 1973 and Director's Cut has got rid off some extra wires too (I also happen to like the spider walk).

One the greatest horror classics and for a reason. Will definitely be in top-3 if I ever manage to make my horror film list.