Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Film Review: The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist (Review)
United States/1973
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...a slow-burn horror film with great suspense and unforgettably creepy visuals and audio."

Actress Chris McNeil (Ellen Burstyn) and her daughter Regan (Linda Blair) live a seemingly normal life. That is until Regan begins to show signs of mental illness and becomes more and more aggressive as time passes...

The Exorcist is a possession horror film. I'd like to note, though, that The Exorcist plays out a bit more like a horror-drama hybrid. The drama and horror, however, compliment each other well, making each element much more effective. The story in The Exorcist is slow-burn as the aggression continues to buildup. The story goes out of its way to explain and explore the potential medical explanations for Regan's actions -- I love this aspect of the film. When all else fails, and Regan's actions become violent for her mother and herself, an exorcism is requested. The finale of the film is unforgettable -- a shocking ending regardless of your beliefs.

The drama and horror are fantastic in The Exorcist. There is great character development, and the relationships are also fleshed out; this makes the relationship between Chris and Regan believable, in turn, making many of the sequences much more effective and horrifying. This isn't a big, flashy jump-scare horror film, it's a slow-burn horror film with great suspense and unforgettably creepy visuals and audio. Regan's transformation is unbelievable -- from an innocent, sweet girl to a vulgar, violent demon -- all in the same body. I'm sure there are some people that will and have automatically dismissed the film because of their conflicting beliefs, but this doesn't bother me -- it's simply fantastic filmmaking.

Ellen Burstyn performance is great, she has the charisma of an actress and the concern of, well, a concerned parent. Linda Blair is perfect, she plays the innocent child so well during the first act, it's almost painful to watch her unbelievable change. The music is perfect, delivering an ominous and creepy soundtrack; the iconic theme is a beautiful track on its own. The cinematography and camerawork is perfect, really setting every shot in the most effective way. The special effects and makeup are superb. William Friedkin's direction is also fantastic, showing great restraint and variety, as well as perfectly pacing the film.

Overall, The Exorcist is a masterpiece of filmmaking. An unforgettable film, and one of the best horror films of all time, particularly due to the fantastic blend of horror and drama. Don't miss out on this film, especially don't miss out because of conflicting beliefs -- this is simply a superb piece of filmmaking that shouldn't be missed.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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