Since this is my first movie in this series I’ll let you know upfront that these will not be traditional reviews. I will not include plot summaries or other staples of traditional reviews. Instead, I will ask, “Should this film be considered a classic?” and “Would I watch it again/own it?” So lets get started!
Should this film be considered a classic? Without a doubt “The Exorcist” is a frightening movie. It shows the clash between faith and science. It shows the conflict in a largely secular priest as he comes to grip with the supernatural. The story is told in such a way that it builds very slowly. It is not like many recent scary movies that are filled with violence from the first moment the screen lights up. The tension builds slowly and left me wondering what the next thing to go wrong would be. Even when it seems like the filmmakers could have sped the plot along, they kept the pacing deliberate so that you have to watch each agonizing moment as the possessed Regan slowly gets worse and worse. This movie does deserve to be on this list because it is one of the most masterfully paced films I have ever seen. I know it is considered a horror classic, but I think it’s greatest strength lies in the way the film pulls you in further and further with each passing minute.
Would I own this film? In a word, nope. It’s not a film I see myself watching again. I completely understand why it is a classic. That said, the demon possessed girl is incredibly vulgar (this to me was even more convincing than the head twisting and green vomit at making the possession frightening). One rodeo with this movie was enough for me to see why it has stood the test of time and also to decide that it is not something I want to own. On a side note, I have heard some Christian people say that the film offers a “pro-faith” message because of the successful exorcism. I think the movie pretty clearly shows that the exorcism by the faithful priest was not successful and the ultimately it was not Jesus who had power over the demon. So if someone tells you that “The Exorcist” has some sort of pro-faith message, I would argue that it has the exact opposite, at least in portraying the power of Jesus over demons which is clearly taught in Scripture and clearly not portrayed in the film.