Exorcist: The Beginning

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Renny Harlin is kind of a like a poor man's Michael Bay, which is the political equivalent of saying that George W. Bush is the poor man's Dan Quayle. Basically, this means that no matter what he does, no matter what genre he happens to be in, his association with a film is apt to send shivers up and down your spine as though somebody just delivered the bad news that all your living relatives were killed in a plane crash.

So, you know, it might have been somewhat of a relief if Harlin had been asked to revive the "Look Who's Talking" series, but not only is he being asked to revive "The Exorcist," he's being asked to save the studio from the Paul Shrader version of "Exorcist: The Beginning" that never saw theaters because the studio thought it was too slow.

I don't know how much Levitra a man has got to take before there's so much blood in his penis that his brain can't function at all, but clearly these studio executives have swallowed enough. One can only imagine how slow Shrader's version must have been if Harlin's was considered well-paced.

Apparently, now that Geena Davis has had twins, Harlin is taking his childless frustrations out on the world by torturing the little buggers in his films. What passes for sick in this film is a Nazi shooting a cute little girl in the head, a young boy possessed by the demon, and another being torn to shreds by hyenas. In this prequel, Father Merrin (Stellan Skarsgard) is in Africa where archaeologists have discovered an old church buried in the sand. Naturally, the locals won't go near the place, but that doesn't stop the white men from uncovering it and jumping on in as though they'd just located the only titty bar in Africa.

"Exorcist: The Beginning" lopes along like a rabbit with only two hind legs as Harlin struggles to deliver enough blood and gore to satisfy the studio. Ultimately, the film's big plot twist involves the brilliant "it's not this, but THAT" swerve that could reasonably include virtually any imaginable explanation. Misfiring for roughly 100 minutes, Harlin finally decides to copy what he perceives made the first film scary, which in his mind, appears to consist entirely of the Linda Blair Halloween make-up kit.

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