The Exorcism Review

Reviews Films




Well, talk about facing your demons – in The Exorcism Russell Crowe takes this to a whole new level. Directed by Joshua John Miller, The Exorcism is yet another take on a classic of the horror genre, but this time with a little bit of a twist. While it’s not the most original of exorcism themed films, it does become uniquely meta. 

The story centers on Tony (played by Russell Crowe) a recovering addict and washed up actor attempting to reignite his career after rehab. He is given the role of a priest in (here the meta elements begin) an exorcism themed film, after the previous actor dies in suspicious supernatural circumstances. We follow him from rehearsal to final performance, while his mental health, already damaged by the unexplained death of his wife and subsequent fractured relationship with his daughter (Ryan Simpkins), descends slowly into madness. 

While it’s not particularly scary, it does have a lot of other elements that we look for in ‘good’ horror films. There’s suspense, jump scares, lavish gore. Overall the cinematography is delightfully dark and extremely well composed, despite the lack of variety in the film’s settings. There’s a certain otherworldly aura to the frozen film sets that are the scenes for most of the more dynamic possession scenes, but that is in contrast to the gritty darkness that overtakes Tony and Lee’s apartment. 

The acting from Crowe is superb – both as a washed up actor struggling with the demands of a film, and as vicious demon-filled during his eventual possession. At times the supporting characters do feel predictable and cliché, and overall do fade into the background. 

It becomes more ‘meta’ as the demon overtakes Tony and uses his own existing turmoil to eat away at him from the inside. It’s difficult to differentiate if the demon is creating the darkness within Tony, or if it is enhancing the pain that is already there. To the people close to him, this initially looks like he has fallen back into a life of drink and drugs, but soon even they figure out that something is up. It does seem a bit problematic that none of Tony’s coworkers and loved ones want to actually ask if he’s okay, before he starts vomiting green slime that is. 

Despite how visually appealing this film is, it does feel a bit tired, at times. Essentially it’s all been done before – flickering lights, levitation, demons trying to get a rise out of people with crude comments… What was subversive in The Exorcist becomes trite and predictable in The Exorcism. It’s a good film to see if you aren’t a complete horror-buff, but maybe miss it if you feel like you’ve seen it all before.  5/10