EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING (2004 U.S.) D: RENNY HARLIN/ PAUL SCHRADER (uncredited) W: ALEXI HAWLEY/ WILLIAM WISHER JR./ CALEB CARR P: WILL RAEE/ JAMES G. ROBINSON
The late John Frankenheimer turned down directing this prequel and Paul Schrader ended up helming it. After turning in a completed film, Warner Bros./Morgan Creek decided they didn`t like it and wanted more blood and guts. Harlin was hired and delivered what they wanted (ironically most of the more gruseome stuff was cut out to avoid an NC-17 rating). Very little of Schrader`s work remains. Stellan Skarsgard stars as a middle-aged, alcaholic Father Merrin hired to help investigate a mysterious, ancient church found buried underground in Africa. Harlin`s version is sloppily structured and does rely too much on formulaic shock tactics, but it`s still a reasonably enjoyable slice of hokum and by far better than the other sequels. Schrader`s cut was also released as DOMINION. With Izabella Scorupco, James D`Arcy, Ralph Brown, Ben Cross, David Bradley, Alan Ford and Antoine Kamerling.

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