I went to see the rerelease of this film, and I've never heard more yawning in my life -- and with good reason. "The Exorcist," it turns out, is boring. First of all, what's all that crap at the beginning where Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow) is wandering around Africa? That's twenty minutes of sand I didn't need. So what if this guy reappears later -- why do I have to watch him in the desert?
Then there's all this boring stuff about Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) and her acting jobs and house parties. Mind you, this is like an hour into the film. This film could have used a whole lot less back-story and a whole lot more projectile vomiting. As it is, there's about 90 minutes of rambling prequel and only 45 minutes of gruesomeness. 15 of those minutes are devoted solely to various doctors going, "Uh, we think she's got a tumor." While an accurate comment on the state of health care in America, it didn't fit into this story. There's also this Lt. Kinderman (Lee J. Cobb) guy showing up for no apparent reason, and even after the film ended, I still didn't know why he was there.
In case you didn't notice the title, the film isn't really about little Regan (Linda Blair) and her head spinning round and round, it's about Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller), a priest with a psychology degree who's lost his faith. Thus, his journey to believing in the supernatural is a way to reintroduce him to God and provide him with a reason to martyr himself. After all is said and done with the devil, little Regan meets another priest, sees the white collar, and goes to kiss him. Isn't Catholicism wonderful?
Frankly, all I could think about while watching this film now, almost 30 years after it was released, was that William Friedkin is the same guy who directed "Jade." That just goes to show you that a blind squirrel may get lucky and find a nut once in a while, but he's still going to starve in the long run.
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