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    A DVD REVIEW: EXORCIST - THE BEGINNING (Warner Brothers/Morgan Creek)

    "THE PREQUEL TO THE SCARIEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME"

    It is unfortunate, friends, that we are in an age of countless remakes and prequels --- the remakes ranging anywhere from MAN ON FIRE, DAWN OF THE DEAD, HOUSE OF WAX, THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 and the upcoming remake of John Carpenter's THE FOG, believe it or not --- while the prequels, such as this DVD I am about to review, as well as titles like BATMAN BEGINS, are no doubt the result of the hysteria George Lucas created with his Star Wars prequels. In most cases, I find these prequels and remakes utterly and completely unnecessary (perhaps not in the case of Star Wars) and EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING is a PRIME example of why a prequel is just unnecesary in certain circumstances.....and this is coming from a DIEHARD fan of the original William Friedkin shocker and a fan of the franchise in general.

    First, a bit of history regarding this project.....Renny Harlin (DEEP BLUE SEA, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4) ultimately directed this prequel to perhaps the best horror film of all time, William Friedkin's THE EXORCIST, based on William Peter Blatty's best selling novel about a young girl possessed by either the Devil himself or a demon named "Pazuzu" (this is never made clear in any EXORCIST film), BUT, he was NOT the original director of the FIRST CUT of this film, which is still circulating in Morgan Creek vaults somewhere, and has actually begun circulating in some theaters right now for brief theatrical runs to see what public reaction will be. The first director to helm this project was Paul Schrader, but after the corporate suits at Morgan Creek and Warner Brothers watched Schrader's version of this EXORCIST prequel, I believe simply titled EXORCIST: DOMINION, they were unhappy with it because they felt it lacked any shock at all. And it did. Schrader's version of the film was a completely cerebral look at this material, which is supposed to deal with the "Father Merrin" character (played by Max Von Sydow in the original EXORCIST) and his first encounter with the demon which possessed Linda Blair in the original film. And so Paul Schrader's version of the EXORCIST prequel was rejected and Morgan Creek hired Renny Harlin to re-shoot the film, this time with, of course, an over the top ending exorcism scene which is a complete rip off of the original with Linda Blair --- right down to her makeup effects with the green/yellow eyes and cuts all over the face; but I'll get to that soon.

    I have NO idea WHY a prequel to a landmark motion picture like THE EXORCIST was necessary, but apparently, Warner Brothers and Morgan Creek saw an opportunity to turn THE EXORCIST name into a franchise much like Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street, and it was completely unnecessary. It seems Renny Harlin, while filming EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING, was on crutches from an accident he had, and the shooting of this film needed to be rushed into theaters.....and the results show. He even admits, in some interviews on the DVD, that certain special effects, like the AWFUL looking CGI hyenas, had to be "rushed in" without quality control because of a timetable he had to follow.

    The largest problem with EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING is that it fills in certain gaps in the EXORCIST legacy, yet doesnt and confuses the audience at the same time. And this film CAN get confusing ---- perhaps not as much as the really outrageously confusing EXORCIST III (which is STILL a much, much better sequel to the first film than the HORRIBLE EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC, often considered one of the worst films ever made), but there are plot holes here that Harlin needs to take blame for. First of all, lets go back a bit. 1973's THE EXORCIST, based on William Peter Blatty's shocking novel, was supposedly based on a "true" story of a young boy "possessed" by some kind of evil spirit in the Georgetown, Washington area; in the book and film, the boy is changed to a girl, played by Linda Blair in the picture, and to this day, remains just about the best and most shocking horror film ever made. What EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING attempts to do (and again, I dont know WHY this was necessary because the original EXORCIST was creepy enough without any explanation about ANYTHING that was going on up on that screen) is explain the story of how Father Lancaster Merrin (Von Sydow from the 1973 original) first came in contact with the evil that was inside Linda Blair in that first film. The problem is, the film was made in the "2000"s, so no matter how hard Harlin tries, the time frame just doesnt feel right.....one thing they DID get right with EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING, however, was the casting: as a young Father Merrin working on a mysterious dig of a buried church in Kenya is Stellan Skarsgard, who looks and acts JUST like a younger version of Max Von Sydow, and there are many references to the original film here that were nice touches by Harlin, yet some feel too ripped off from the first EXORCIST. There is a scene where the younger Merrin is offered a drink by an archaeologist, and he says "I shouldnt drink.....but....my will is weak," which is something he said to Ellen Burstyn in the first EXORCIST before beginning the exorcism on Linda Blair. So Harlin got some details right in connecting the two films, yet got a lot of details wrong, too, and made a way too confusing film in the end. First, lets do a little plot analysis.

    EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING opens with what appears to be a priest walking among a field of dead soldiers and priests, and he stumbles upon one who is half-dead, holding onto a statue head ornament --- that of the demon "Pazuzu" which possessed Linda Blair in the original EXORCIST. From there, the camera pans out over hundreds of upside-down crucifixes planted in the ground with people crucified upside down on them as the opening title credits appear. It seems this priest was the last surviving member of a group of priests that were dispatched to find the origins of an ancient evil --- and the place where Lucifer fell after the war in heaven. They stumble upon this spot, and the evil spirits inhabiting the area turn the armies against each other until they are all dead. The surviving priest returns to the Vatican and orders a church be built on top of the spot where the evil came from to seal that evil inside. Centuries later, in Cairo, Egypt, a young Father Merrin, who has now turned his back on the church and is no longer a priest because of attrocities he witnessed during World War II with the Nazis, is approached by a collector of icons who wants him to go to Kenya where the British have uncovered this church from centuries ago --- but Merrin cannot believe a church could exist in the time period it is supposed to be from, and neither does Father Francis, a young assistant from the Vatican sent to help Merrin with the investigation. Together with a British military commander, Merrin agrees to try and find this "artifact" the collector wants him to find in Kenya, Africa, which is supposed to be a representation of the mythical demon Pazuzu. Merrin doesnt believe in possession or demons --- not yet.

    Harlin's plot pacing gets confusing at certain parts, becuase once Merrin gets to Kenya, we are lead to believe that many different people, at many different times, are actually possessed by Pazuzu, including a young African boy of the community --- all the while, the demon is actually inside a beautiful nurse played by Izabella Scorupco, waiting until the end of the film to finally confront Merrin and do battle in a somewhat cheesy exorcism scene beneath the depths of this "church" that was built to hide Pazuzu's lair. It seems the demon is using the little boy to make the local tribes and everyone think it is HE who is possessed, but it is actually this nurse. We dont know when she gets possessed, although it is hinted at one point in the film that her husband was a lead archaeologist when this strange church was first uncovered, and that she had gone into the church with him.....when Merrin visits the husband, locked away in a sanitarium in Nairobi, and who kills himself in front of Merrin because he had been "touched" by the evil in the church, it is then he realizes Scorupco must be the one Pazuzu has possessed because she went into the church with him. The entire length of the film has the viewer wondering who is possessed and who isnt, never really suspecting the nurse of the town --- at times, we believe it is inside a drunken archaeologist at the dig stie --- other times, the evil seems to take over the leader of the British military that have assumed command over the area because of the value of finding this church where no church should be. But beneath this church is where Pazuzu was born --- and the story of the first EXORCIST begins. But Harlin has gotten some details wrong here, and real fans like me can pinpoint them.

    FIrst of all, in the beginning of the original EXORCIST, Max Von Sydow (Merrin) is on an archaeological dig in NORTHERN IRAQ, where he finds the statue head of Pazuzu, which his younger counterpart puts down in a sandstorm and loses at the end of EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING --- connecting the two films. The only problem is, EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING takes place in Kenya, and THE EXORCIST opens in IRAQ, so how did Max Von Sydow find the statue head in Iraq, if it was in Africa in this prequel? The same problem applies to Von Sydow finding the whole Pazuzu statue in the beginning of THE EXORCIST, which was buried under the church in EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING, but, again, how can the statue be in IRAQ when it was DISCOVERED in Kenya? Harlin did not keep this consistent and it made no sense.

    And it was apparent Harlin really didnt know what to do with this material (like I said, this prequel was UTTERLY unnecesary because who the hell really needed to know WHERE Pazuzu came from or how Merrin battled it in the past?) because the whole thing just gets so confusing, with a local tribe of Africans attempting their own exorcism on the young boy they think is possessed, but all the while it is really this nurse......and why the nurse being possessed? Another inconsistency and mistake here on Harlin's part was that the nurse that is possessed is apparently a Jew because she has numbers on her arm from the concentration camps and tells Merrin stories about the concentration camps and World War II ---- a subject he is all too familiar with because he was asked by the Nazis to select people to die in a village during the war, making him abandon his faith. Now, I am of the Jewish faith and I was not under the impression that a Jewish person could become possessed by a demon that is terrified of an exorcism which is based on CATHOLIC RITUALS unless I am missing something here; so Harlin's choice for who confronts Merrin at the end as a possessed soul was confusing.

    Then there is the whole end exorcism scene itself; its just SUCH a ripoff of the first film, with Izabella Scorupco as the possessed woman this time, with the same cuts and scrapes on her face as Linda Blair in the first film, the same green eyes and the same HORRID language that she spews at the younger Father Merrin this time; in the original, we had Linda Blair spewing these lines out the best like "YOUR MOTHER SUCKS COCKS IN HELL, KARRAS!" and "STICK YOUR COCK UP HER ASS YOU MOTHER ****ING WORTHLESS COCKSUCKER!!" as the older Merrin (Von Sydow) attempts to do an exorcism with Jason Miller; in EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING, I guess Harlin couldnt help but add the same shock value with this same demon gyrating on the younger Merrin's crotch yelling "WHATS THE MATTER, MERRIN? DONT YOU WANNA **** ME ANYMORE?" as she unbuttons the top of her dress to expose her breasts.....but the comments dont stop there.....she goes on to hiss at Merrin "THATS BECAUSE YOU WANT TO SHOVE YOUR ROTTEN COCK UP HER JUICY ASS!" as she continues to hiss and gyrate on Merrin's crotch saying "YOU CANT HAVE HER! THE WHORE IS MINE! AND I'LL KILL HER BEFORE I LET YOU TAKE HER FROM ME!" This is all an attempt by Harlin to copy the original film for shock value, and the exorcism scene itself is just ridiculous, with the possessed nurse flying from wall to wall inside the cave under the church, where Merrin is doing the exorcism thanks to some cheesy CGI work.

    There are some more things that bothered me here as a diehard EXORCIST franchise fan. First of all, if you watch the God awful EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC, it is suggested that a younger Merrin DID in fact do battle with a young possessed boy in Africa years before he battled the same demon inside Linda Blair in the first EXORCIST; then why is he doing an exorcism on a possessed FEMALE NURSE in EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING? There IS a young African boy being controlled by the demon in EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING, but he is not actually POSSESSED, the female nurse is. Was this the best Harlin could come up with? And as I said, the area where this was all supposed to take place was completely inconsistent; at the end of EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING, young Father Merrin loses the Pazuzu statue head in a sandstorm, suggesting why he finds it again in THE EXORCIST, but Max Von Sydow in THE EXORCIST finds the statue in IRAQ, not KENYA.....this doesnt make any sense. And then are we lead to believe the demon is unearthed by Von Sydow in the first EXORCIST, and flies all the way to Georgetown, USA, to possess a young girl? Why? Why her of all people and why that place? I guess thats another argument for another time.

    EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING, while still utterly unnecessary, actually played back much better at home than it did at the theater for me; I remember going to see this in the theater with a fellow diehard EXORCIST fan, and before we went to see THE BEGINNING, we watched the first original film on DVD in my apartment. That was a mistake. ANYTHING after that classic original would seem horrible in comparison, and thats what happened when we left the theater after watching THE BEGINNING. We didnt like it. But I found a new respect for it on DVD, and found a good deal on it at Hollywood Video during one of their "3 For $25" sales, in which my cousin bought two pre-owned discs for her daughter and I picked up EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING, previously viewed.

    But, in the plus column, the casting team did a great job with Stellan Skarsgard (DEEP BLUE SEA, GOOD WILL HUNTING) as the younger Father Merrin, as he acts, sounds and behaves like a younger version of Max Von Sydow from the original EXORCIST, believe that or not, and I think thats what saved this film from being a total disaster. It got TORN APART by critics after its theatrical run, but if you re-visit it a couple of times on DVD, it may just grow on you. NOTHING, however, will or can compare to William Friedkin's original masterpiece. Harlin tried to copy, though, with all his might.....

    PACKAGING SPECIFICATIONS:
    Standard "keepcase" box with red crucifix on front with the words "EXORCST THE BEGINNING" across the crucifix; picture of the supposedly possessed nurse screaming in the lower left corner, but it looks nothing like her --- in fact, it looks more like Linda Blair in the first film, which is what it may have been designed to look like.....

    VIDEO SPECIFICATIONS:
    "WIDESCREEN VERSION PRESENTED IN A "LETTERBOX" WIDESCREEN FORMAT PRESERVING THE "SCOPE" ASPECT RATIO OF ITS ORIGINAL THEATRICAL EXHIBITION, ENHANCED FOR WIDESCREEN TVs"

    This is a direct quote from the back of the EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING box, because this studio is INFAMOUS for refusing to label the aspect ratios of every one of their titles on the boxes; I have to assume this was an either 2:35:1 or 2:40:1 transfer because there was letterboxing on my screen during playback. At any rate, EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING was given a beautiful, gorgeous transfer. No grain. Bright colors. Accurate fleshtones. Nothing really more to say about it. A great looking DVD image.

    AUDIO SPECIFICATIONS:
    ENGLISH DTS SURROUND 5.1, ENGLISH DOLBY DIGITAL SURROUND 5.1, SUBTITLES IN ENGLISH, FRENCH AND SPANISH

    Finally, Warner Brothers has begun jumping on the DTS bandwagon --- and I thought this trend was going to stop with TWISTER! This is a studio that has refused to drop anything but Dolby Digital tracks on their DVDs, and dont get me wrong, some are pretty damn good --- such as TERMINATOR 3 --- but to a DTS lover like me, there is just nothing like a well-mixed, loud, aggressive DTS track, and thats exactly what you get here. Creepy, atmospheric sounds fill each channel, and if your surrounds are up high in a ceiling like mine are, you will actually feel like you're in that cave with Merrin and Pazuzu, with demonic breathing, laughing and cackling coming from the surrounds in an aggressive fashion. The entire soundtrack is loud and aggressive, from Merrin's flashback sequences to the war, to the raspy, loud, dead-centered voice of the possessed nurse in the center channel and her voices echoing behind you in the surrounds. Sounds of buzzards and hawks flying around the mysterious church on top of Pazuzu's lair hit the surrounds with such force, you will think they are flying right in your listening room. Dialogue, for once (ESPECIALLY with Warner Brothers titles) remains crisp, clean and mixed VERY well within the overall action of the film.....THIS is the way a dialogue track should be done on EVERY DVD --- the dialogue tends to exhibit an in-your-face characteristic that I found refreshing, as most DVDs I review have these weak dialogue stems. The most notable characteristic about the DTS track, though, was the way sounds reverberated around the listening room as characters spoke in the caves or the demon bellowed out growls and the echoes made it into the surrounds......very realistic audio work here by Waner Brothers. Most impressive too was the fact that the track was so pumped up and aggressive in nature --- I like that.

    Speaking of the demon's voices and its "cackling," there are some interesting similarities here that Harlin used smartly to connect the original EXORCIST with THE BEGINNING --- such as the growling, wheezing noises the demon makes when talking to the priests, whether it was in the original or THE BEGINNING. There is also a part where in the surrounds, you can hear the demon bellowing "MEEEEEERIN" like it did in the first film just before the exorcism scene. Harlin was wise to keep these EXORCIST characteristics in the film.

    EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING concludes, once casting out the demon from the nurse but not being able to save her life after the exorcism, with Merrin returning to the collector who originally hired him to find the statue of Pazuzu and telling him "he couldnt find what he was looking for." When the man says goodbye to "Mr. Merrin", Merrin shows his black and white neck apparel of a priest and says "It's Father Merrin", indicating he has regained his faith after this brush with evil.....which he would have years later in THE EXORCIST.

    While EXORCIST III dealt with the other priest who assisted Father Merrin in casting the demon out of Linda Blair in the first film, Fater Karras (Jason Miller) who apparently survived his suicide at the end of THE EXORCIST and who was still possessed himself, EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING deals with the origins of Father Lancaster Merrin, but in the end, just falls flat and did not satisfy hardcore fans who were expecting more. At the end of the day, this was a totally, totally unnecessary prequel to a film that didnt need any explanation in my opinion --- the first EXORCIST was creepy enough without any stories attached to it explaining where this demon came from or whatever; I think Warner Brothers and Morgan Creek are trying to milk THE EXORCIST name into a horror franchise, and I hope this was the last one.

    SPECIAL FEATURES on the disc included:

    -Commentary by Director Renny Harlin
    -Behind the Scenes Featurette (boring and a waste of time as everyone interviewed sounds like they're gonna fall asleep any minute)
    -Theatrical Trailer

    I would really love to see Paul Schrader's version of this film to compare it to Renny Harlin's because according to Warner Brothers, the Schrader cut of the film was simply "nowhere near gory or violent enough"......I hope his cut makes it to DVD, which it hasnt yet even though Morgan Creek press releases have promised it.
    Last edited by Lexmark3200; 07-01-2005 at 03:43 AM.

  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Hey man, I think it's great guys like you and Worfster are posting these reviews, we need more of this IMO...helps me decide what to avoid and what to consider...thanks!

  3. #3
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    The first Ex was the best.
    Look & Listen

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    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Talking Hey man, Great Review!!!

    I came to the same conclusion on this film, with fewer words though . I enjoyed it, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I still wish I could see the "first" version of this prequel that they scrapped after it was in the can.

    Thanks...

    Da Worfster

  5. #5
    Kam
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    filet - o - fish Kam's Avatar
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    Dominion

    It played in VERY limited release on May20th. opened in 110 theaters only (Harlin's version opened in 2800 theaters), WB's execs am sure didnt want the vast public to get a look at the version they said sucked ass after the version they wanted actually did suck ass. WB's didnt really promote it all that well, but here's some basic info and a link to the very cool trailer.

    http://dominiontheexorcist.warnerbros.com/

    Goes to show you what a bunch of business school grads know about running studios. Spent over 100mill on Harlin's version (+marketing) and make less than half back on Gross receipts, then sheepishly release the 'better' version. It should be available on DVD soon, it was rumored they were going to package them together, have Schraeder's version available on the DVD as well, but that doesnt make sense $$ wise when they can make more trying to sell 2 separate dvd's.

    personally was going to wait for the Schraeder version to come out, caught a screener extended trailer (was like a 5 min long "trailer") and it looked phenomenal. Really puts the harlin version to shame, at least in 5 mins, haha.

    will post more when i know more!
    peace
    k2

    P.S. Batman Begins had been in the works for decades, even before the Burton batman came out, not as a result of the Lucas star wars prequel trend. Batman: Year One, along with The Dark Knight Returns (both by frank miller who did Sin City) were the two early movies that WB was thinking of doing to begin the Batman franchise, but instead went with Burton's Batman, and then forced him into Batman Returns, which he didnt want to do. They said they were doing Batman Year One as Schumacker's next installment to the series after the "wonderful" Batman and Robin came out but because Schumacker scarred the series so horribly, it was scrapped until recently.
    The whole batman saga at WB is almost as interesting as the Superman Lives saga that's been going on for years as well.
    /create

  6. #6
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Do they have a pre-Debbie does Dallas?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Hey man, I think it's great guys like you and Worfster are posting these reviews, we need more of this IMO...helps me decide what to avoid and what to consider...thanks!

    Hey Kexo!

    Thanks for the reply man and great to hear from you! Hopefully, and I am working on it with administration, I could possibly get my own section of the site created devoted to strictly DVD reviews so I can help all you guys, as you said, consider what to avoid and what to rent or add to your collection; thanks again for the reply, it means a lot to me that you read it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    The first Ex was the best.
    ABSOLUTELY no doubt, Shok......I meant to conclude the review by saying that the bottom line is that NO sequel, prequel or anything will come close to touching or besting William Friedkin's original masterpiece.

    It is often considered, by many film scholars, as one of the best motion pictures ever made.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Worf101
    I came to the same conclusion on this film, with fewer words though . I enjoyed it, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I still wish I could see the "first" version of this prequel that they scrapped after it was in the can.

    Thanks...

    Da Worfster
    Hey Worfster!

    Great to hear from you again, friend! Glad you enjoyed the film. Yes, Im waiting to see this first version which was scrapped --- there are limited theatrical runs which havent come to the Vegas area yet, and Im dying to see the differences between Schaeder's version and Harlin's.

    Great to have a fellow reviewer amongst the ranks! Thanks again for taking the time to read the lengthy review; I appreciate it!

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=Kam]It played in VERY limited release on May20th. opened in 110 theaters only (Harlin's version opened in 2800 theaters), WB's execs am sure didnt want the vast public to get a look at the version they said sucked ass after the version they wanted actually did suck ass. WB's didnt really promote it all that well, but here's some basic info and a link to the very cool trailer.

    http://dominiontheexorcist.warnerbros.com/

    Goes to show you what a bunch of business school grads know about running studios. Spent over 100mill on Harlin's version (+marketing) and make less than half back on Gross receipts, then sheepishly release the 'better' version. It should be available on DVD soon, it was rumored they were going to package them together, have Schraeder's version available on the DVD as well, but that doesnt make sense $$ wise when they can make more trying to sell 2 separate dvd's.

    personally was going to wait for the Schraeder version to come out, caught a screener extended trailer (was like a 5 min long "trailer") and it looked phenomenal. Really puts the harlin version to shame, at least in 5 mins, haha.

    will post more when i know more!
    peace
    k2

    Wow, Kam,

    Thanks a million for the link....that was a pretty cool trailer! Just from that alone it looked like Schraeder's version was the superior one; I mean, this exorcism scene at the end of Harlin's version, as I said, was just ridiculous and a direct ripoff from the first film.

    You're absolutely right about the "business school grads" and what they know --- I personally have some connections at Warner Brothers and Morgan Creek through their press relations department, where I get press kits from, and just from interviewing some of these guys to do DVD reviews, I can tell that their business decisions regarding marketing just plain suck sometimes. This decision to theatrically release Harlin's version JUST BECAUSE it included more CGI ladened gore and a ridiculous exorcism scene at the end was a stupid decision on Morgan Creek's behalf; I am sure Schrader's version is much more cerebral and thought-provoking, along the lines of William Peter Blatty's EXORCIST III, but I guess Warner figured the public just didnt want to see that --- they wanted to see a CGI party like Harlin put out (and if you listen to interviews with Harlin on the DVD you will fall asleep because this guy is just boring to listen to and I get the feeling he had absolutely NO idea what to do with this material when it was given to him to rush to market by Warner Brothers).

    In the end, I still conclude this prequel was completely unnecessary for a worldwide lauded film such as Friedkin's THE EXORCIST.

    Speaking of differences in opinions and creative problems, I will soon do a review of THE EXORCIST: THE VERSION YOU'VE NEVER SEEN and discuss, in detail, the horrible creative differences William Peter Blatty and William Friedkin went through to develop the film version of THE EXORCIST from the novel.....thats amazing.

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    I saw this one a couple months ago. Can somebody explain how the woman dies at the end? He exorcises pazuzu out of her and shes talking to him saying 'o thank you, youre so nice blah blah" Then all of a sudden blood starts pouring out the back of her head? And then she dies. little help?
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    Quote Originally Posted by MomurdA
    I saw this one a couple months ago. Can somebody explain how the woman dies at the end? He exorcises pazuzu out of her and shes talking to him saying 'o thank you, youre so nice blah blah" Then all of a sudden blood starts pouring out the back of her head? And then she dies. little help?
    I had no explanation for this either, except for the fact that "sometimes the Devil wins" and we have to assume this demon somehow killed her during the possession stage --- we dont see it happening, but to be honest, I dont know HOW she died or why; its almost as if there was a massive hole in the back of her head because of all the bleeding.......

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    Wanted to add to this review of Exorcist: The Beginning once watching it yet again tonight some things I left out originally that are pretty crucial....

    Harlin seems so desparate to use concepts from William Friedkin's first film that he's not even ashamed to show it off and admit it --- from the opening sequence in Cairo, Egypt where the old men are slamming away at burning melted metals (JUST like in the beginning of the first film) as Merrin (in both films) sits and drinks (in the first one, he was taking pills in this opening scene; yet BOTH films had him sitting in a cafe of some kind by himself and these old men hammering down melted metals all around him in a chaos of noise and shouting) to the younger Merrin in this film saying to a man who asks him if he drinks "Well, I shouldnt.....but my will is weak" (as Max Von Sydow said to Ellen Burstyn in the original) to a shot of "Father Francis" shaking hands with Merrin in this film and meeting him for the first time and saying "what an honor it is to meet him" (JUST like Jason Miller did with Von Sydow in the original at the end exorcism scene) while Harlin used the EXACT same camera technique Friedkin did for that scene, which was a pull-back and then close-in style as the priests are shaking hands......all of this just SMACKED and seemed to be lifted RIGHT FROM the original Exorcist that it hit me tonight watching it again that Harlin doesnt even appear to be ashamed that he's paralleling any of these sequences almost gesture for gesture and word for word......

    And lets not forget this end exorcism scene, which was such a ripoff of the first film makeup effects and dialogue wise, its not even funny......another possessed female with yet again another gang of cuts and scrapes on her possessed face with yellowish eyes yet again spitting out VILE language at a priest who is trying to do an exorcism on her.....

    What is Pazuzu's (or is it the actual DEVIL in these films? Its NEVER made clear) fascination with telling priests to take their "cocks" and ram it into every hole in the possessed female's body?

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