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Exorcism, The


Stars: Russell Crowe, Ryan Simpkins, David Hyde Pierce, Sam Worthington, Adrian Pasdar, Chloe Bailey

Director: Joshua John Miller

Largely shot in 2019, with reshoots last year, presumably to ramp up the horror, this rather puzzling chiller centres on a powerful performance by Crowe as Tony Miller, a washed-up actor recovering from booze and drug addictions after the death of his wife.

Descended on by his 16-year-old daughter Simpkins), who has been expelled after being found naked with her (female) lover, Tony has been handed a shot at a comeback with the priestly lead in an exorcism film.

His unease at accepting the role, and in delivering his lines, is well founded, as he is slowly possessed by Meloch, the demon from the award-winning 1973 film.

Indeed, the whole thing is a sort of family follow-up. Not only is the lead character called Miller, but the director is the son of Jason Miller, who played a priest in the original.

That said, there's way too much darkness here; characters do occasionally turn on lights, though it seems to make little difference, while plot developments often defy all logic.

The camera, however, certainly likes Simpkins, although Hyde Pierce struggles with his role of the real priest hired as technical adviser on the film, Pasdar gives it too much as the director, and Worthington barely registers as an actor who may take over from the ailing Tony.

It all adds up to an average evening of creeps and jump shocks for fans of the genre.

David Quinlan

USA/Australia 2024. UK Distributor: Vertigo (Miramax). Colour by Pictureshop.
95 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 18 Jun 2024