“The Exorcist: Extended Director's Cut” DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

10/07/2010 Posted by Admin

“The Exorcist: Extended Director's Cut”

Directed by William Friedkin, written by William Peter Blatty, based on his novel, 132 minutes, rated R.

By Christopher Smith

In 1973, smack in the middle of a tumultuous political environment that saw the fall of a U.S. president and our country caught in the throes of war, came William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist,” a horror film like none other that would go on to be denounced by Billy Graham, championed by the Catholic church, embraced by film critics and finally by the Academy Awards, where it won two of 10 nominations.

The film came during the last golden age of Hollywood--a time when it wasn’t rare for artistry to take precedence over box office receipts--and it was groundbreaking, a movie that shook audiences with its depiction of Regan (Linda Blair), a sweet 12-year-old girl whose soul is gradually--then violently--possessed by the devil.

“The Exorcist,” just re-released again, this time on DVD and Blu-ray in an "Extended Director's Cut," is about the discovery of one’s religious faith--that’s its core. Everything that happens to Regan--the head spinning, the projectile vomiting, the levitations, the infamous “spider walk,” those blasphemous, bloody plunges with the crucifix and her remarkably raunchy mouth (beautifully dubbed by Mercedes McCambridge)--is windowdressing.

This film isn’t so much about Regan’s transformation as it is about the transformation of her mother and the priest who eventually comes to help them.
Played superbly by Ellen Burstyn, Regan’s mother, Chris MacNeil, a popular movie star shooting a film on location in Georgetown, is a woman who finds herself caught between the concrete world of medical science and--to her--the more foreign world of religion, which she only turns to once she’s sought the help of “88 doctors” and is desperate to try anything to save her daughter.

When it’s suggested to her that Regan should have an exorcism, a stunned Chris turns to Father Karras (Jason Miller), a man fighting his own demons after his mother died alone in her home. With its relationships established, the film then becomes Chris and Karras’ journey into themselves with Regan’s possession used as the catalyst for change and personal reawakening.

Besides the performances, which are uniformly strong, especially Linda Blair’s, which borders on brilliance (consider the range she displays as Regan), what’s so terrific about “The Exorcist” is how the film is in no hurry to get to the meat of its horror. It isn’t exploitative. First and foremost, it’s about its characters, people we come to care about before their lives are viciously torn apart on screen.

This is one of the reasons the film became a classic. Before Regan ever blew pea soup out of her mouth or flipped about on a bed, audiences had a strong sense of who she and her mother were. For those who believed in what they were seeing--and there were those in 1973 who absolutely believed--there was the lingering, creepy sense that this could happen to them.

This new, extended version does add to the experience, particularly in the excellent three-part documentary on the movie's production and its legacy, which allows us behind the scenes. But beyond all the extras in this set--and there are many--“The Exorcist” remains a must see because it changed movies forever. It stands as that rare original, a movie whose influence continues to be seen even if today's modern directors don't fully understand the reasons why this terrific movie worked.

Grade: A

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes


  1. Anonymous said...

    Talk about your fantasies. This will make you feel good about yourself and inspire you to go on to achieving greater things. The Snake: (born 1965, 1977, 1989) Those who are snakes are much like the Tiger, in that they are truly deep people. [URL=http://lopolikuminr.com ]gingilis[/URL] The handheld saw will be your primary tool of choice when cutting wood, however it is prone to systematic errors if it is not fixed and turned into a bench saw. Most markets and specialty stores sell hard coca candies, coco chocolates, granola bars, and cookies made with coca flour and are marketed as having a subtle energizing effect.