In 1973, audiences were stunned by the vulgar and disgusting and incredibly good horror film The Exorcist. Many would say that The Exorcist is the scariest movie of all time.
While I do not hold the movie at quite that high of a level, I do have to say that The Exorcist has the best blend of good acting and quality shooting with a very creepy atmosphere. I always draw a firm line between scariness and creepiness, and I consider The Exorcist to be creepier than it is scarier, by which I mean that you probably won't be as scared during the course of the movie, but once you're done and walking to your car in the dark parking garage, or walking from your car to your front door, then you begin to feel some strange sensations. The Exorcist chilled me to the point where I ran from my car to the house, but it didn't make me cover my eyes while watching, like some of the B-grade movies have been able to do better (like the unforgettable The Evil Dead, which I consider to be the scariest movie ever produced).
That aside, The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen has some to theaters in the fall of 2000, taking advantage of the fact that there aren't many good movies out right now and that the Summer Olympics are taking place. This version is supposed to have something like fourteen extra minutes, and those fourteen extra minutes are supposed to draw crowds to the theaters to see a movie that most have already seen. But in reality, I think people returned in numbers to the theaters to see a scary movie they have only been able to watch on their television sets, and so the fourteen extra minutes don't really matter.
Having not seen the movie in about two years, I couldn't really tell where those fourteen minutes were. There were a few moments that I didn't remember, so that probably was them, but I'm not quite sure. The only scene that obviously was not in the original, and thankfully is in this one, is the spider walk scene, in which Linda Blair scatters down the stars backwards like a crab, her chest aimed up at the ceiling. Oh, and her mouth is spewing blood. This one scene alone, the only standout "deleted scene," makes it all worth it.
The other update for this version is a remastered soundtrack and some adjusted picture. The sound is inconsistent, meaning that some parts definitely saw improvements, while other parts seemed sort of flat. Of course, the remastered sound is highlighted by a ringing phone, which freaked more people in the theater out than the rest of the movie combined. That was pretty funny. As for the picture, this movie might have been made last year. With a few sketchy shots here and there, which is understandable, the picture quality is excellent. The movie looks like something produced in the 90's. The only thing setting it apart is the difference of culture - the audience, myself included, found it quite funny to have the doctor telling the mother that her daughter should be pumped full of Ritalin before she sees a psychiatrist.
Of course, everything else is pretty much normal. Linda Blair and everyone else does an excellent job. The filming technique is excellent and William Friedkin has for sure created an eerie environment that will last the ages.
There is no need for explanation why The Exorcist is one of the most popular horror movies of all time... If you have an urge to see a scary movie, or The Exorcist itself, why watch it on video when you can see it on the big screen, the way it was meant to be shown?
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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