'The Exorcism' movie review: A remake that fails to pass muster

21 June,2024 05:06 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Johnson Thomas

This film directed and co-written by the son of Jason Miller who played Father Karras in The Exorcist, doesn’t come even close to assimilating the classic

Still from `The Exorcism`

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Film: The Exorcism
Cast: Russell Crowe, Ryan Simpkins, Sam Worthington, Chloe Bailey, Adam Goldberg, David Hyde Pierce, Adrian Pasdar, Tracey Bonner
Director: Joshua John Miller
Rating: 2/5
Runtime: 93 min.

From ‘The Pope's Exorcist' to ‘The Exorcism,' Russell Crowe hasn't come a long way in recent years. This latest horror/thriller is Crowe's successive, bad, demonic possession-related supernatural film, and is a sad statement of the manner in which his once A list career has gone steadfastly downhill. It's possible his agent is trying to get him back into winning ways by suggesting films in a genre that usually rakes in decent returns - but for an actor of his calibre this seems a lot like ‘dumbing' down.

The story here is about a troubled actor Anthony Miller (Crowe) whose career went to seed due to his alcoholism and depression following his wife's death. His estranged daughter Lee (Ryan Simpkins) reluctantly comes to stay with him after getting suspended from school. When the original actor in a film that sounds remarkably similar to William Friedkin's ‘The Exorcist,' dies following an unusual accident, Anthony is hired to play the all important role.

Immediately after shooting commences, Anthony begins demonstrating bizarre behavior, almost as if he's being possessed. His estranged daughter begins to wonder if he's slipping back into his past addictions. David Hyde Pierce as Father Conor, the production's spiritual advisor, points his finger to a possible demonic possession. Adam Goldberg, portrays the verbally abusive director of the film and Sam Worthington and Chloe Bailey play Anthony's co-stars in the motion picture.

Anthony appears to go weird replete with body contortions and demon eyes etc. all too suddenly. The typical demonic possession tricks and gimmicks are all evident. Don't know the reasoning here, but apparently he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest as a teen - so that makes him a victim twice over.

This film directed and co-written by the son of Jason Miller who played Father Karras in The Exorcist, doesn't come even close to assimilating the classic. Innumerable references to The Exorcist abound, giving the impression that the writer-director expects the viewer to have seen the original before coming for this. The horror sequences seem challenged, the dialogue appears cauterised and the pace is so slow that it borders on the funereal. There are no explanations given - everything is open to interpretation if at all. Even the finale is pitifully woebegone. There's nothing subtle or powerful about it.

The film benefits from Russell Crowe and David Hyde Pierce who add a tinge of class to the abject proceedings by their mere presence. Even the one letter difference in the title is indicative of the huge void in the creative department here.

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