The Exorcism

June 21, 202440/1006 min
Starring
Russell Crowe, Ryan Simpkins, Sam Worthington, Chloe Bailey
Written by
M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller
Directed by
Joshua John Miller
Run Time
1h 33min
Release Date
June 21st, 2024
Overall Score
Rating Summary

Ever since the release and popularity of The Exorcist over 50 years ago, we have gotten more than our fair share of movies about exorcisms. Their locations and their setting in time might vary, but when it comes to that type of movie, we have seen most of what there is to see. What if, though, to switch it up a little, we got an exorcism movie that takes place while filming an exorcism movie? If you were like me, that thought might make you turn your head slightly and think, Now there’s an idea I haven’t really seen. That is the premise behind The Exorcism, which just adds another layer of potential problems while trying to make a movie.

Anthony Miller (Russell Crowe) is an actor whose choices in his personal life have sidetracked a once-promising career. There is a casting opportunity that could change that, as he is up to play the priest in a new exorcism movie. As he prepares for the audition, his daughter Lee (Ryan Simpkins) moves back home after some problems of her own, but Anthony is happy to have her back. The audition doesn’t start off well, but the director, Peter (Adam Goldberg), fires Anthony up, allowing him to nail the role. The reason the role became available in the first place is because the actor who had the role died mysteriously. Now, though, the job is Anthony’s, and he has Father Conor (David Hyde Pierce) there if he needs any advice. As Anthony starts performing, strange things begin to happen, and he starts acting a little weird, which Lee especially notices. As the shooting days continue, things only get worse, and soon Anthony is no longer acting in an exorcism movie—he is starring in one in real life.

Written by M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller, with the latter also directing, The Exorcism takes a meta trip into the world of exorcism movies but never really finds a way to leave its mark. The horror elements are well-handled, but I wish Miller relied less on cheap jump scares to provide most of the film’s frights. It’s a shame that he chose that route, as Miller actually provides some great creepy setups, but it seems finishing strong is his problem, both with his scares as well as the film’s climax. There are a lot of nods to The Exorcist, even down to a reconstruction of Ellen Burstyn’s house from the 1973 film. I just think he missed the more compelling aspect of the story in favor of the one he chose to tell.

The Exorcism is a nice nod to a classic film that will make fans of that classic smile a little. Unfortunately, you have to sit through the rest of the movie that is not a nod to the 1973 film. It is not all bad, as the script is really the weakest link. Crowe, who might be one of the only actors to go from playing a man trying to stop an exorcism to playing someone who is possessed, gives a committed performance. The rest of the cast is fine, with only Hyde Pierce standing out and even managing to steal a few scenes. I will say the concept behind The Exorcism is strong; the finished product, not so much, which may leave you wondering what possessed you to watch it in the first place.

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