Starring Izabella Scorupco and Stellan Skarsgård, Exorcist: The Beginning is the prequel we always wanted without knowing it (and is certainly my favourite amongst The Exorcist films).
From start to finish it is a work that explores the evil of man and how such horrors leave us vulnerable to our own darkness.
The sense of dread draws you close and lingers, creeping through your thoughts and burrowing into the haven of your mind.
You can almost feel the dry wind of the desert against your skin as you watch and find entertainment in a tale of wrongness allowed to spread and fester.
Stellan disappears into his role offering an almost non-fiction quality to the story, as he leads you, entwining his doubts and fears with your own whilst Izabella offers up the stubborn grit of human goodness, unwilling to fail regardless of the suffering set before her. She is an idol of human compassion, a brief and wonderful respite amongst the horrors to come.
Between them and the supporting cast we are taken into the tale as if witnesses, flies on the walls who are able to see things that the cast are not yet privy to. This only adds to the swell of dread as time passes.
From set to sound, from script to props, the film appears almost too real and in that lies its power. It is difficult to ignore the attention to detail that went into its creation, the sort of effort that comes from love for the work and time sacrificed for the sake of its birth.
Revulsion, concern, fear and disgust swell within the heart, as the all-too-believable characters face things no woman, man or child would ever choose to confront. Every detail falls together creating a work of true skill and dedication that almost speaks of reality caught on film.
You will feel for at least one of those you are introduced to and if, like me, you should watch it more than once you shall find the subtle whispers of the ignorance and arrogance of mankind, of white Christians attempting to heal wounds with their faith, disregarding that which they do not, cannot or will not understand.
Prepare to face a harsh landscape, harsher ‘accidents’ and foul characters whose fates may satisfy your sense of right and wrong in the end.
It is my belief that this film surpasses its predecessors as well as those that followed.
Though I have found few films like it those who watch and enjoy should check out The Reaping (2007), and, despite distaste for the first in the duo, The Last Exorcism parts I & II — the first purely to better understand the later.
Exorcist: The Beginning explores many a person’s fear such as death, the devil, madness and the retribution of those we have wronged.
It is a treat for those in search of an intelligent horror where topics reach far further than your average horror. Ready yourself to be reminded of the flaws of our kind and the terror we inflict upon one another.
By Lola Newman
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