The Exorcist (PG) - 1975 - Runtime: 132 minutes
Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair
Director: William Friedkin
Ah, The Exorcist. Considered by many to be the best horror movie ever, I just had to see it. Most of the movie's famous scenes have been parodied over and over to such an extent that I feel like I know the movie quite well. But there's a lot more to this fantastically plotted and acted thriller other than Linda Blair's portrayal of demonic possession.
The movie's plot centers on an actress and her daughter. After some disturbing changes, Chris starts to realize that her daughter, Regan, must need some form of divine intervention, because nothing else will do. Enter Father Karras, a man struggling to come to terms with his mother's death and battling his own doubts about his faith. He's there to help perform an exorcism, along with Father Merrin (played by the always awesome Max von Sydow) on Regan to rid her of her demon. The movie builds upon the tension until the final scenes of the exorcism itself. This is the one flaw I found in the movie and I did find myself straying a bit. The movie slowly builds up the tension, and I mean slowly. But what kept it interesting was the absolute obscenity of Regan and her possession. There's some crazy shit happening in this movie and every time something crazy happened, I was immediately hooked back in. But that exorcism sure took forever to get there (the movie's over two hours long!).
Like I said earlier, the movie's well acted and I bought every minute of Jason Miller's (who?) performance as the doubtful priest. The movie ends in such a profound way that it stayed with me long after I was done watching it. I thought Blair was truly unique and even though some of her character was not all Blair's acting, I found it nevertheless chilling.
As for a horror movie? I don't know - it's intense and scary in a more subtle way. There's no "gotcha!" moments in the movie - rather it's all about playing on people's fears with demons and religion. And I think that's why it hits home with most people - this movie doesn't seem too far out of the ordinary and that's scary to some. And while I did find myself thinking about this movie afterwards, it wasn't dreadful. I did not have awful nightmares like I did when I watched Nightmare on Elm Street when I was a kid (that still takes top honors to me as the scariest movie I've ever seen). But that doesn't stop me from recommending this one - it's a great movie and fun to watch. It will get under your skin and perhaps even scare the hell out of you and that's probably the best compliment you can give to this kind of movie!
Rating: Rent It!