Exorcist prequel stands alone

When I think of the original ‘Exorcist,’ I think of being creeped out to the point of discomfort. Not only was the first ‘Exorcist’ movie scary, but it had the tendency of going just a little too far, causing most people to cringe and the rest to be simply offended. In this respect, I think that ‘The Exorcist: The Beginning’ keeps the legacy of this classically sinful horror alive.

It”s not easy to make a successful prequel to an already successful movie. More often than not, a director will take the elements that made the first movie good and then milk them for all they”re worth. Luckily, this is not the case for ‘The Exorcist: The Beginning.’ Instead of depending on the fame of its predecessor, ‘The Beginning’ essentially creates its own movie with a new cast, storyline and style. The only aspect that links these movies together is one character and the fact that somebody eventually gets possessed by the devil.

‘The Beginning’ is set in Africa, where Father Merrin, a faithless ex-priest is hired by the British government to investigate an inexplicably ancient church that has been uncovered near Egypt. The church was seemingly built long before the Christian religion was formed. On arrival, Merrin discovers that the church and the entire encampment around it contain an evil presence.

‘The Beginning’ is a well-crafted film. It”s not only frightening, but it”s inventive. Characters aren”t introduced and then just killed off as they are in most horror movies; they”re explored, developed and yes, sometimes killed. Although none of the actors are big-name stars, their performances are still exceptionally good.

The film”s horror is also pleasantly diverse. It offers conventional scares such as animals leaping out of nowhere and doors opening really loud in quiet rooms, but it also produces the kind of fear that follow you home after the movie is over. It”s demented, it”s eerie, and it”s fantastic.

While the film may be enjoyable, it sometimes lacks in artistic horror. There are a few scenes that rely on excessive gore instead of actually trying to instill some sort of fear in the audience. I”m as big of a gore fan as anybody, but even I have my boundaries. One scene in particular, which involves a pack of hyenas and a young boy, is especially unnerving.

‘The Exorcist: The Beginning’ is certain to be a hit for those who enjoy a good thrill. Over half the people in the audience spent most of the movie curled up in the fetal position while they peeked over the tips of their knees. Have no doubts, this movie will scare you. Bring a friend and you can claw the skin off each other”s arms.