Compiled by: Jack Foley
IT'S been through several directors, been dogged by rumours of
curses, and had more release dates than sequel numbers, but Exorcist:
The Beginning finally opened in US cinemas on Friday, August 20,
to terrible reviews.
Far from scaring the life out of people, like its classic original,
The Beginning seems to have bored them.
The film finds Father Lankester Merrin (Stellan Skarsgard) in
the years following World War II, as he is relentlessly haunted
by memories of the unspeakable brutality perpetrated against the
innocent people of his parish.
Variety leads the chorus of frustration, stating
that 'this annoyingly disjointed shocker stumbles badly after
promising early scenes, and quickly devolves into a chaotic blur
of underdeveloped characters, illogical transitions and standard-issue
Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, lamented that
'this is the kind of film that mysteriously vanishes from most
Entertainment Weekly wrote that 'the original
Exorcist verged on being demonic child porn. This Beginning simply
feels as if it has no end'.
While the New York Post opined
that 'the acting is serviceable at best, the direction unfocused
- and the special effects and makeup cheesy-looking'.
Worse still, was the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
which pointed out that 'when it was first released, The Exorcist
caused nausea, fainting and heart attacks; by comparison, The
Beginning elicited waves of giggles and guffaws from a preview
And the Dallas Morning News, which dismissed
it by stating that 'Mr. Harlin's helming is uninspired enough
to remind you that he's the fellow responsible for such tankers
as Cutthroat Island and Driven'.
Slightly better, but still negative were the likes of the Chicago
Tribune, which wrote that 'this movie is no Exorcist,
but it's no Alien vs. Predator
And the Houston Chronicle, which wrote that
'The Beginning surpasses both sequels, yet it still feels like
a potboiler that regurgitates reliable jolts as if it were sticking
to its own rites'.
But About.com was deeply unimpressed, describing
it as 'a snorefest interrupted briefly by a only a few semi-decent
While E! Online felt that 'if this violent,
tedious and gore-splattered prequel to the horror classic is any
indication, the devil has officially become boring'.
The final word, however, goes to Filmcritic.com,
which concluded that it 'could rival Exorcist II: The Heretic
as the most ridiculous and boring horror movie ever made'.