Exorcist: The Beginning Reviews

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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
February 27, 2007
The serious Catholic themes that made the original film genuinely disturbing have been flattened out into a cartoonish backstory pitting Merrin against Nazi storm troopers.
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Time Out
June 24, 2006
Reams of tedious exposition finally give way to a random jumble of horror movie clichés, rising to a shrill pitch of hysteria that is never remotely frightening.
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AV Club
September 26, 2005
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Ron Stringer
L.A. Weekly
August 26, 2004
Blood, flies, maggots, ravenous hyenas, power failures, grave-digging and much ineffectual voodoo ensue.
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
August 25, 2004
| Original Score: D
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Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
August 24, 2004
As shocking as an Dokken album cover and, finally, as pious as The Passion of the Christ.
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
August 23, 2004
Never feels like anything other than generic, brain-dead, Dolby-jolt, multiplex hackwork -- I kept expecting Skarsgard's habitually catacomb-prowling Merrin to bump flashlights with Lara Croft.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
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Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
August 23, 2004
It rates fairly high on both the Scare-O-Meter and Gross-Out Scale, with an early hyena attack guaranteed to have you flinching in terror.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Peter Hartlaub
San Francisco Chronicle
August 23, 2004
By the time the three or four false endings are finished and the credits roll, moviegoers will be left wondering whether Schrader's version will be released on DVD.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
August 23, 2004
Plenty violent. And bloody. And gory. What it isn't -- not really -- is scary.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
August 23, 2004
Although Harlin hasn't directed a full-out horror movie since 1988's A Nightmare on Elm Street IV, he seems to have spent most of the time since memorizing them.
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
August 23, 2004
It's not despicable. It is merely boring.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Kevin Crust
Los Angeles Times
August 23, 2004
A perfectly mediocre horror film.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
August 23, 2004
If you're looking for groundbreaking badness, you needn't look much further than the new Exorcist prequel, which is one interminably grisly waste.
Full Review | Original Score: 0.5/4
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
August 23, 2004
Despite a high body count, shock cuts and loud noises, this prequel to William Friedkin's 1973 horror film fails to deliver any palpable shivers.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
August 22, 2004
Ignoring the essentially inward story of The Exorcist, [Harlin] has created a sprawling anything-for-a-jolt movie, more in the spirit of a midnight teen-scream flick than a portrayal of a dark night of the soul.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
August 21, 2004
It manages a trifecta of pain: It's dull, it's grim, it's stupid. How's that for a recommendation?
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
August 21, 2004
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Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
August 20, 2004
The Beginning surpasses both sequels, yet it still feels like a potboiler that regurgitates reliable jolts as if it were sticking to its own rites.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
August 20, 2004
The original Exorcist verged on being demonic child porn. This Beginning simply feels as if it has no end.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
August 20, 2004
This is the kind of film that mysteriously vanishes from most participants' resumes.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
August 20, 2004
This movie is no Exorcist, but it's no Alien vs. Predator either.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
August 20, 2004
Nothing in the movie is noteworthy, except for maybe its offensive treatment of children.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Joe Leydon
Variety
August 20, 2004
This annoyingly disjointed shocker stumbles badly after promising early scenes, and quickly devolves into a chaotic blur of underdeveloped characters, illogical transitions and standard-issue scary-movie tropes.
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
August 20, 2004
The acting is serviceable at best, the direction unfocused -- and the special effects and makeup cheesy-looking.
| Original Score: 1/4
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Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
August 20, 2004
Mr. Harlin's helming is uninspired enough to remind you that he's the fellow responsible for such tankers as Cutthroat Island and Driven.
Full Review | Original Score: D
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Bob Townsend
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
August 20, 2004
When it was first released, The Exorcist caused nausea, fainting and heart attacks; by comparison, The Beginning elicited waves of giggles and guffaws from a preview screening audience.
Full Review | Original Score: C-