The Exorcism Review: Possession horror doesn't reach its potential

The meta trope of making a film within a film is something that’s been toyed with numerous times and as a horror premise, it’s ripe with the opportunity to do something a little more than found-footage-style voyeurism. Something which is explored to varying results in The Exorcism.

When the original actor cast to play Father Arlington in a new possession horror ‘The Georgetown Project’ mysteriously dies, washed-up actor Anthony Miller (Russell Crowe) sees the project as his shot at redemption and a return to normality. Following years of drink and drug abuse, Miller is on the mend, and with his daughter, Lee (Ryan Simpkins) returning home after being expelled from school, The Georgetown Project is the perfect chance to prove to his daughter that he has turned a new corner.

Unfortunately, during the shoot, it becomes apparent that the movie’s demonic antagonist might not be the stuff of Hollywood make-believe and instead, a very real and very dark force is taking possession of the movie and its cast, with its eyes set firmly on the broken and vulnerable Miller.

The first third of the movie makes a solid stab at bringing something new to what on paper is a very gimmicky story and chooses to focus heavily on the father-daughter relationship between Miller and Lee. Crowe’s Miller is a deeply flawed, has-been actor, desperately seeking redemption and is digging deep to find the courage to face his own demons. Meanwhile, Simpkins’ Lee plays a pitch-perfect petulant teen, who wants nothing more than to be a daughter rather than a carer for her beleaguered father.

As engaging as the contained drama is, it soon takes a backseat as the movie inverts itself to allow the goofy possession plot to start to drive it. We get odd glimpses of genuine tension, courtesy of Adam Goldberg’s auteur director needling Miller to dig deep into his emotion and exploiting his vulnerability for the sake of his movie.

However, The Exorcism is packed with too many ideas and themes that nothing is properly explored and much feels tacked on. There’s a romantic sub-plot between Lee and Miller’s co-star (played by Chloe Bailey) that lacks any true depth and there are allusions to Catholic church child abuse, which feels rather flippant.

Director Joshua John Miller excels at delivering jump scares but there’s very little to back up actual horror. And with so many horrific themes laid on the table such as drug, alcohol and sexual abuse, as well as complex familial dynamics and the cut-throat nature of Hollywood, it seems a shame to see none of them fully realised.

This is Russell Crowe’s second outing in an exorcism movie (he enjoys himself no end in 2022’s The Pope’s Exorcist), and he shows up in full force yet again. His performance is delightfully subtle but clearly a cut well above the level the script commands. For the first 30 minutes, The Exorcism is a genuinely intriguing horror with potentially interesting avenues to explore. The rest, however, is too distracted and disjointed to really match and leaves you wondering what could have been.

OTHER NEWS

1 hour ago

NSW woman confuses $1 million Lotto win for $1000

1 hour ago

See how Social Security retirement benefits stack up globally

1 hour ago

McLaughlin rips teammate over 'low percentage' crash

1 hour ago

Free agent Ainsworth stays at Gold Coast

1 hour ago

Chilling effect of Aussie rate hike crisis

1 hour ago

Asian markets drop as Biden drops out of White House race

1 hour ago

Maresca wants 25m sensation who could ignite Mudryk's Chelsea career

1 hour ago

Reeves under pressure on tax and spending as strikes loom over public sector pay

1 hour ago

BCCI To Meet IPL Owners At Month-End; Player Retention, Salary Cap To Be Discussed For Mega Auction: Report

1 hour ago

Vernita Salligram: From baking passion to opening a popular bakery on Florida Road

1 hour ago

UK weather: Highs of 27C forecast as weather set to improve for summer holidays

1 hour ago

Land for growing fruit and vegetables should be doubled, new Government told

1 hour ago

Video: Aussie star tests Paris Olympics 'anti-sex beds' in the Athletes Village - and she is NOT happy with the results

1 hour ago

Video: Key swing state poll show who is leading between Trump and Kamala Harris after Biden dropped out

1 hour ago

Video: Aussie star tests Paris Olympics 'anti-sex beds' in the Athletes Village - and she is NOT happy with the results

1 hour ago

Inside Biden's historic decision to drop out of the 2024 race

1 hour ago

'Let’s not politicize a disaster' | Mayor Whitmire criticizes councilman’s comments on Hurricane Beryl preparation

1 hour ago

What is stiff-person syndrome? All about Celine Dion's rare disorder

1 hour ago

‘Twisters’ rocks box office with powerful $80.5 million opening weekend

1 hour ago

5-star recruit Derek Meadows commits to LSU over Notre Dame

1 hour ago

Wenyen Gabriel: South Sudan Doesn’t Have Indoor Basketball Courts And We Are A Bunch Of Refugees

1 hour ago

Lakers News: How the Lakers Are Navigating the Salary Cap with Redick’s Vision

1 hour ago

Key swing state poll show who is leading between Trump and Harris

1 hour ago

Scottie Scheffler ends Open in nightmare after failing to hit past women's tees

1 hour ago

Little Sunshine Spa: Skin Fairy boss Carmen McNamara opens Perth’s first organic baby spa in Mt Hawthorn

1 hour ago

Father killed alongside daughter in Sydney train tragedy identified as Anand Runwal

1 hour ago

Man denies committing indecent act on Emirates flight from Dubai to Sydney

1 hour ago

Wighton prepares for daunting Canberra return

1 hour ago

ANC admits incoherent messaging resulted in KZN loss

1 hour ago

Shohei Ohtani launches 473-foot, 116.7mph bomb that nearly sails out of Dodger Stadium

1 hour ago

Ukraine war latest: Around 20,000 Russians killed in Kharkiv offensive, Zelensky says

1 hour ago

Nine vows to keep investing in youth media, appoints new Pedestrian boss

1 hour ago

Dolphins to Bring in Former SB Champion LB After Shaquil Barrett's Retirement

1 hour ago

‘Sprawling’ crisis leaves Aussies on brink

1 hour ago

Watch: Shohei Ohtani Nearly Hits Home Run Out Of Dodger Stadium

1 hour ago

Increase in superannuation guarantee rate forecast to boost retirement savings by $21,000

1 hour ago

Elon Musk asked OpenAI investor Vinod Khosla to support Trump. Khosla said he doesn't 'accept depravity'.

1 hour ago

Journeyman Dan Brown finally makes a name for himself by surviving Troon test

1 hour ago

Canada moves to phase out oil-fired furnaces

1 hour ago

Woodside share price falls despite $1.8 billion 'global LNG powerhouse' bid

ALONGWALKER VIETNAM: Kênh khám phá trải nghiệm của giới trẻ, thế giới du lịch ALONGWALKER INDONESIA: Saluran untuk mengeksplorasi pengalaman para pemuda global