REVIEWED
4/27/03

STORY



LOOK

The Exorcist (Special Edition)
Director: William Friedkin
Year: 1973
TRT: 2:02


This is one of those movies that I think would be a lot scarier to actually read the original book by William Peter Blatty. The movie is still very eerie, but the story is a bit disjointed at first as the opening sequence is in Northern Iraq, and then moves to the States with apparently little connection. But once established here, it becomes a horrific fight between the power of good and evil.

A big movie actress, while working on a film on the east coast, ends up having to deal with her daughter growing very sick. The doctors can't explain the source of her illness, and it grows progressively worse. In the meantime, a local priest is having questions about his faith as he faces the failing health of his mother and the emptiness of his life. Their paths eventually cross in trying to help the girl Regan become "normal" once again.

I like the way that it makes the "bona-fide" scientists and doctors come off as the charlatans and witchdoctors when they can't figure out the source of Regan's troubles. Good performances by Ellen Burstyn as the increasingly shattered mother, Jason Miller as the troubled psychologist priest, and Max Von Sydow, already looking ancient back in '73.

DVD Notes: The 25th Anniversary Special Edition put out by Warner Bros. is pretty decent. It's a double-sided DVD that has the Widescreen Version of the film on one side, along with 2 separate audio commentaries, one with director Friedkin, and the other with Blatty, as well as a brief written bio on the history of the true story the book & film were based on. The other side of the DVD includes a great 75 minute documentary on the film, and some interview clips with Blatty & Friedkin that goes into the theological basis behind the film. It also features the original ending, sketches & storyboards, and some tv spots & trailers.

Shortly after the they put out this Anniversary DVD, they did in fact release a new cut of the film to the theaters in 2000 dubbed "The Version You Haven't Seen Yet," with a couple of small additions, including a deleted scene they show in the above-mentioned documentary, the infamous "spider-walk" sequence. This is creepier than shit, and am glad it made it into the restored theatrical version. If you're going to see this film see that version, as I think it goes into the theology a bit more, plus from what I can remember, the restored and added footed looked great as well.