NEVER SEEN IT: The Exorcist

exorcist

BY CHASSITY MERRITT

Date Released: December 26, 1973

Date Watched: October 14, 2013

Why Now? October is the month I look forward to all year, to indulge my love of horror films. While it’s nice to enjoy the old faithful favourites I love and know pretty much every word to, I always try to incorporate a few new ones that I’ve heard about and always meant to get around to watching, but never did. This movie fit that bill, and I feel like I’ve been unfairly hard on exorcism movies. I’d like to change that. What better way to start than with the most famous of them all?

Why Not Then? I wasn’t born when this film came out. Growing up, my parents talked about classic horror movies all the time, but I wasn’t allowed to watch them until I was about 16. I’ve had plenty of chances to watch this movie since then, but they’ve ruined so many classics for me by over-hyping them, that I avoided The Exorcist, confident that I would hate it too, as this was the horror movie they talked about the most.

Expectations:

  • Cheesy dialogue, which I’ve experienced in many older films I’ve seen
  • A hysterical mother character
  • Lots of overacting
  • Ridiculous portrayals of religion that would be somewhat offensive
  • Silly, failed attempts at scares
  • An over-the-top priest
  • Slow pacing
  • Nothing scary happening until the end

What I Actually Got:

  • A film that was even more slowly paced than I expected
  • Very underplayed performances worsened by the fact that all the actors seemed to have decided to whisper most of their lines—perhaps for effect and eeriness, but they actually only sounded bored
  • A quite surprising portrayal of religion that wasn’t as offensive as I expected
  • Some really good moments of suspense-building
  • Really good performances from Lee J. Cobb and Linda Blair
  • No cheese factor: Some surprising and shocking vulgarity for the time period
  • Attempts at being scary, but nothing more than creepy undertones at best

One Night-in Stand or Second Date Potential?

Definitely a one night-in stand. Now that I’ve seen it to see what all the fuss is about, it’s something I can cross off my list. It’s not one of those films that I will watch every October, nor is it a film I feel the need to see again. For all the good points in the film, I still found this movie hard to sit through because I just wanted it to be over. It was too long and there were just too many moments that dragged.

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