dir: Julius Avery
You can completely not believe in something, and know that it’s highly refined bullshit, and still find it terrifying.
Having been brought up in the Christian faith, and educated at Catholic schools, there are no elements of these stories that are unfamiliar. And I long ago recoiled in horror from the actual, incalculable evils perpetrated and covered up by the Catholic Church, and dismissed the mythological bullshit elements, seeing how the whole edifice was propped up with fear and control, covering hollow lies all the way down.
And yet… Sure, okay, I know this is all hysterical supernatural bullshit, fantasy stuff no more real than anything in the Lord of the Rings movies or Star Wars…
And yet… I can still find this stuff terrifying. The Exorcist still remains one of the most terrifying films I’ve ever seen, and that’s unlikely to ever, ever change. All I have to do is remember certain sequences and I get cold chills.
There was a scene in a recent, quite stupid movie called Ghosted where the two main characters have a conversation at a set of steps, and Chris Evans’ terrible character tells Ana De Armas “These are the steps from The Exorcist!”, and she’s like “okay grandpa””, but I was like “oh shit those are the cursed steps from The Exorcist?”
I don’t believe in ghosts and demons and such, but there is something about the idea of demonic possession that I find deeply, deeply disturbing. And again, though I don’t for a second believe in possession or exorcisms or any of that fucking bullshit, and also, not all flicks about demonic possession are created equally; when they work I am horrified beyond belief.
Most of the stuff I saw in terms of reviews about this flick dismissed it for a bunch of reasons – demonic possession stories are dumb, or the flicks not horrifying enough, or it’s not camp enough, or it’s too funny, or it’s not comical enough, or Russell Crowe is terrible with a risible accent, or Crowe is really good but slumming in a role that is beneath him.
Those are all takes. They’re wrong, but people are entitled to their takes.