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Running Time:
1 hour, 36 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
strong violence and gore, disturbing images and rituals, and for language including some sexual dialogue

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
Neither scary or suspenseful, just a plodding bore.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Commentary by director Renny Harlin; Behind-the-scenes featurette; Theatrical trailer; Subtitles: English, Français, Español

Exorcist: The Beginning
Stellan Skarsgard plays the famous Max Von Sydow character, Father Merrin, in a story about lost faith and the redemption of belief. Hard drinking Merrin had cast aside his cleric's collar following a tragic incident during World War Two. Following the murder of a German soldier by partisans, the Nazi officer in charge of the town orders Merrin to select 10 of the town folk for execution. If he doesn't agree he'll be forced to watch the entire town slaughtered. Merrin makes the choices but it causes him to lose his faith in God. Then in 1947 and unfrocked Merrin sits, alone, in a bar in Cairo, Egypt, drinking and remembering his tragic past. He is approached by a collector of rare antiquities (Ben Cross) who proposes that Merrin join an excavation in Kenya where a Christian church was found. The curious thing is that the church which had been buried intact was built centuries before Christians ever came there. The ex-priest agrees and goes to Kenya where he is confronted by an irascible Brit named Jeffries (Alan Ford) who tells the former priest of the strange happenings that began following the discovery of the church. The natives refuse to enter the site because they claim that evil was awakened within. Then, he sees some very nasty hyenas skulking around the dig during the day! Not normal behavior for the nocturnal animal, and when the pack attacks one of the sons of the local innkeeper, tearing the boy to shreds but leaving his younger brother unscathed, Merrin realizes something unnatural is happening and, maybe, evil is on the loose. Director Renny Harlin has takens on the task of recreating the earlier days of Father Merrin and showing us what made the man who helped save little Regan MacNeil's (Linda Blair) soul in the 1973 original. There is a fair amount of intrigue as the prequel unfolds, showing Merrin as the tormented man forced to make life and death decisions. Although it's not a very good film, it's not nearly as bad as Exorcist II: The Heretic.

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