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"The Exorcist:  The Version You've Never Seen"

Directed by William Friedkin.
Written by William Peter Blatty, based on his novel. 
Starring Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair and Max Von Sydow. 
Release Year:  2000 (original released in 1973) 
Review Date:  10/1/00 


Since many of you have seen "The Exorcist" already--this is simply a re-release of the film, with about 10 minutes of additional footage--let me sum up what happens in this movie for those that have not seen it:

  • Famous actress and daughter live in Georgetown

  • Daughter is somehow possessed by the devil

  • Daughter slowly goes insane as possession makes her head rotate 360

  • Priest intervenes with the hope of making crazy daughter sane again

  • Another priest, formerly an exorcist, is called in for "one last job"

  • Someone gets thrown out of a window

Now, of course there is more to it than that.  "The Exorcist" is so messed up, so absolutely horrific, that even as I write this I am looking under my bed.  I mean, I have seen this movie before, and even seeing it today made it feel like everything was a surprise!  By the time Max von Sydow shows up as the professional exorcist, I was so scared that every time someone would walk into Linda Blair's room (where, as the possessed daughter, she was tied up), I would start to do the "Halloween Cringe."  (The "Halloween Cringe" is where you know something scary is about to happen, so you start looking down at your watch, or over at your buddy, or you cover your eyes, or look behind you at the couple hooking up like it is their job--just anything to not look at the scene about to unfold, cause you know it will scare the bejesus out of you.  This first happened to me when I watched the movie "Halloween.")

And, I had forgotten how much cursing there is in this movie!  This is about as far from a date movie as one could imagine, as the little girl lets expletive after expletive fly out at the priests as they try and complete the ending exorcism.  Not known to be shy with the profanity myself, the cursing here can out-and-out embarrass you as you sit next to your parents, if you were silly enough to bring them to this movie with you!

Okay, so the two obvious questions that must be answered:

-->Is it good?  A resounding yes.  The storyline and the acting in this film are far superior to most movies of this type; and, amazingly, the supporting players that see what is happening to Blair's tortured little girl react about as realistically as people might to a girl that can float over her bed.  And, the shot of von Sydow getting out of his car the night he shows up for the exorcism is one of my absolute favorites in movie history.  A scary movie that actually has a backbone is a rare find even today.

-->What is in that extra eleven minutes?  Well, only one scene is absolutely new:  there is a scene where Blair (in full possession mode) shoots down the family staircase turned upside-down with blood dripping out of her mouth.  It is so scary (maybe because I didn't know it was coming) that I almost fell into the aisle.  What makes it tough is that it happens so suddenly, and like the head-rotation scenes, you know it is not possible but you can't take your eyes off it.  Other than that scene, the extra footage is mostly longer takes of previous scenes.  The introductory sequences with von Sydow in northern Iraq take up a good portion of that 11 minutes, though.

Even if you have seen the original of this movie, it is worth checking out again--and, for at least another couple of weeks, the competition in the theater is not going to be too heavy against this film.

Now, a better experience than even the movie itself took place about six rows behind me.  A family of four--that's right, a family of four, include a five-year-old and a six-month-old--actually had the cojones to sit dead-center during the showing of a profanity-filled shockfest.  About an hour into the movie, and about a half-hour into continuous baby screaming-and-crying noise, one guy yells out

"Take that f***ing kid out of here!"

Profanity exchange takes place behind me (complete with bandwagoners saying "Yeah!  Get 'em outta here!" the whole time), and not until about the last 45 minutes of the movie did the parents finally comply.  Parents:  get a babysitter for R-rated bloodletting movies about the devil!

Rating:  Opening Weekend


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09