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The Exorcist (R)

Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, Lee J Cobb

Release Date: December 26, 1973

Runtime: 2 hr. 1 mins.

Genre: Horror

When a 12-year old girl is possessed by demons, a young priest takes it upon himself to selflessly save her at the behest of her famous movie-star mother.

Review

The definitive horror film returns to the big screen, with some never-before-seen material that not only gives Warners a neat-o marketing tool, but actually sheds light on a few of the flick's enduring mysteries.


Story


You know it by heart. Young Regan (Linda Blair) starts speaking Latin, bouncing around on a shaking bed and rotating her head 360 degrees, so her famous-actress mom (Ellen Burstyn) searches for answers, finally employing the services of a priest-psychiatrist (Jason Miller) and a legendary exorcist (Max von Sydow) whose battles with the devil have left him frail. What makes this more than just a cool scary flick is that it's actually about something -- namely, the erosion of faith and family that makes our kids easy prey for Satan ... or for drugs, violence and other nasty stuff.


Acting


Virtually every actor is flawless in this film, and the fact that their performances hold up 27 years later (none of the acting seems dated or hokey) is remarkable. Director William Friedkin made two legendary casting coups in this film: playwright and first-time film actor Jason Miller is perfect as the faith-fractured Father Karras, and Linda Blair is totally convincing both as the sweet little girl and the profanity-spewing, green-puke-spitting demon.


Direction


If you're expecting those jump-out-of-your-seat scares from start to finish, you'll be disappointed. ''The Exorcist'' is a film that takes its own (devilishly) sweet time getting where it's going.


Bottom Line


After all this time, ''The Exorcist'' is still one hell of a movie.

Synopsis

When a 12-year old girl is possessed by demons, a young priest takes it upon himself to selflessly save her at the behest of her famous movie-star mother.

Stills