- Hamid Karzai’s cousin killed by suicide bomber at Eid al-Fitr party
- Obama thanks Muslims for ‘building the very fabric of our nation’
- Israel flattens home of top Hamas leader, takes out power plant
- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
Prequel a project worth exorcising
Question of the Day
Could a movie opening inspire any less enthusiasm than “Exorcist: The Beginning?”
Let’s tally up the warning signs.
First, the original director’s (Paul Schrader) film was scrapped, and hackmeister Renny Harlin (2001’s “Driven”) re-shot it from scratch.
Then the finished product was held back from critics until Thursday night — too late for most newspapers to scrape together a weekend review.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, is anyone clamoring for another “Exorcist” retread after two misbegotten sequels to the 1973 horror classic?
“Exorcist: The Beginning” confirms all our fears — and finds new ways to insult its audience.
Stellan Skarsgard (1997’s “Good Will Hunting”) stars as a young Father Merrin, the character played in the original “Exorcist” by Max von Sydow.
That casting coup is the one true note the prequel gets right, even if this fine actor looks lost amid gratuitous gore and cheap frights.
The prequel opens in Cairo, circa 1949, with Merrin having abandoned his faith after being forced to take part in some Nazi atrocities. Mr. Harlin hammers this point home with a number of mean-spirited flashbacks.
Now Merrin is a hard-drinking archaeologist, and he has been hired to inspect a dig in Africa after the discovery of a mint-condition church dating back to the early Christian era.
Strange things are afoot at the dig site. Workers are dropping like flies from mystery symptoms, and one worker had to be committed after entering the site.
The mystery only deepens when Merrin starts poking his newly atheistic nose around.
Could the grounds be haunted by a satanic force? Nonsense, says Merrin, though every scene points conclusively to just such a predicament.
Mr. Harlin’s sleeve isn’t always so empty. His giddy “Deep Blue Sea” (1999) proved a frothy blend of camp and horror, but when he plays it straight, as he does here, the results are pedestrian when they aren’t offensive.
We’re supposed to watch Merrin rediscover his faith as he battles the forces of evil, a precursor to his later fight on behalf of Regan, the “possessed” pea-soup-spitting victim.
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- EPSTEIN: All IRS roads lead to the archivist
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- PRUDEN: When the hangman botches the job
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq