Day One of Thirteen Spooky Movie Reviews: “The Exorcist”

Thirteen days of Halloween starts now, happy spooky season Chargers.

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Day One of Thirteen Spooky Movie Reviews: “The Exorcist”

Jenaro DelPrete, Staff Writer/Social Media Manager

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Starting today and going through the 31st, myself and select GENESIS staff members will be reviewing some of the most iconic horror movies of all time. All of us (excluding Mrs. Greenfield) are long time movie junkies, film enthusiasts and Nickelodeon freaks. From creature features to psychological thrillers, serial killers to cave demons: we review ‘em all. These are the Thirteen Days of Horrors from us here in GENESIS. Happy Halloween Chargers.

1973’s “The Exorcist” is an interesting take on modern supernatural practices and on how religion secures its role in the American family. William Friedkin’s directorial effort really shows true in this film, hauntingly voyeuristic shots in stark contrast with intimate close-ups of inconceivable nightmares. For the time of release, this feature took audiences for a whirl, both in controversy and in the 441 million made in the box office. Moviegoers, Christians, helicopter parents, and critics all smited this film for its depiction of real world horror and supernatural enticement. 

So let’s explore this a little bit deeper: William Peter Blatty wrote the novel that the screenplay was based on, and he also happened to write the screenplay. As far as plot goes, he hits this out of the park. Actress living with her 12 year old daughter named Regan, and living through the horrors of an awoken possession via an ancient amulet and a ouija board. It should come as no surprise here that Regan (Linda Blair) is the victim of possession here, as she’s an innocent young child and the story depends on her to carry emotional weight. 

The crux of this dilemma comes in the form of Father Damian Karras, a psychologist Roman Catholic priest. After extensive exams, doctors believe that Regan can only be cured by way of psychological healing, and perhaps the best way would be an exorcism. Father Damian Karras has the troubles of being certain of the needs of an exorcism and the struggles of being pushed to the ends of his faith.

Now, I won’t spoil the film for anyone, but I will review it.

For 1973, the acting in this film is top-notch. Jason Miller’s performance of Damian Karras is stellar and 100% believable, I can sense his fear and his loss of faith is living, tangible.

Our stand-out star is most definitely Linda Blair, her shocking delivery of possession, childlike terror, completely destroyed all natural characteristics and illustrated the pain in the family so true to form. 

Ellen Burstyn, as the mother, Chris McNeil, was a great choice in casting but unfortunately a forgettable one. Most of the characters in this movie are quite forgettable truthfully, I got a vibe of distress during the tense moments, but I was just completely underwhelmed by a lot of the acting– it didn’t really seem believable. 

The cinematography in this movie was really good: not groundbreaking but completely decent. The special effects in this film were UN-R E A L. For 1973, I couldn’t believe the amount of perfection in the make-up effects, the visualization of levitating and heads spinning: mesmerizing. 

I firmly believe this movie has a temporal spot in horror cinema and in film making as a whole.

It paved the way for many movies after it, namely “Poltergeist,” “The Last Exorcism” and 2018’s “Hereditary.” The whole genre of horror haunting and possession was founded and created upon William Friedkin’s adaptation of The Exorcist. 

Despite some minor gripes on some of the actors choice in delivery, 1973’s “The Exorcist” is a timeless masterclass work on American horror cinema. We’ll start off Day One of Thirteen with a fantastic 9.5/10 Greenfields. Happy haunting Chargers!

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the GENESIS staff. Reach Jenaro DelPrete at [email protected]