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Dominion - Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)

Stellan Skarsgard , Gabriel Mann , Paul Schrader  |  R |  DVD
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

Dominion - Prequel to the Exorcist + Exorcist - The Beginning (Widescreen Edition) + Exorcist II: The Heretic (Snap Case Packaging)
Price for all three: $18.63

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Product Details

  • Actors: Stellan Skarsgard, Gabriel Mann, Clara Bellar, Billy Crawford, Ralph Brown
  • Directors: Paul Schrader
  • Writers: William Wisher, Caleb Carr
  • Producers: James G. Robinson, Guy McElwaine, David Robinson
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 25, 2005
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AYEL4W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,376 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dominion - Prequel to the Exorcist" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Additional scenes
  • Stills gallery

Editorial Reviews

Horror buffs will surely be compelled to compare and contrast Dominion with Exorcist: The Beginning, two films weirdly linked by film history. Director Paul Schrader shot Dominion only to find studio bosses underwhelmed by its horror aspects, at which point Renny Harlin was hired to direct another take on the subject with the same lead actor, setting, and similar storyline. That became the 2004 theatrical release Exorcist: The Beginning.

As expected, the Schrader version has more tortured religiosity and visual poetry than Harlin's cheesier (but admittedly gripping) re-do. Father Merrin (Stellan Skarsgard) carries his guilt from the Nazi occupation to a remote African archaeological dig, where a mysteriously buried church has been uncovered. Strange stuff happens nearby, and a fervent young priest (good performance by Gabriel Mann) parries spiritual points with the now-doubting Merrin. Some of the ideas are strong and the sun-and-sand cinematography by the great Vittorio Storaro is often stunning. As beautiful as the film is to look at, it must be admitted that the climax is disappointingly flat, the leading lady (Clara Bellar) is a washout, and one begins to yearn for the occasional genre shock of the kind Schrader was able to conjure up in his remake of Cat People. If you're an Exorcist fan, watch it for its serious treatment of Merrin's crisis, which ties in to his character in the 1973 original. --Robert Horton

Product Description

Historic filmmaking! 2 filmmakers take on the same film. The original prequel to The Exorcist by Paul Shrader. The film traces the story of Father Lankester Merrin (Stellan Skarsgard) back to his first encounter with the Devil in post-WW II Africa.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I Am Perfection!" ~ The War Begins October 23, 2005
Finally director Paul Schrader's version has been removed from its purgatorial storage and released on DVD! Now the fans can judge for themselves which adaptation they prefer, Schrader's or Harlin's. After seeing them both I will say without hesitation, Paul Schrader's orginal treatment is definitely the superior of the two.

Having two different versions of the prequel to 'The Exorcist' availabe on DVD is indeed a rare and wonderful treat. Viewing the two and comparing the merits of both is much like comparing the Reginald Owen's version of 'A Christmas Carol' with the Alastair Sim's adaptation. Each contains material left out of the other and only by viewing both do you seem to get the truly complete, unedited version. To fully appreciate the depth and soul of 'The Exorcist' legacy you simply have to watch them both.

For me the deciding factor in choosing the Schrader version over the Harlin production came around the last half hour of the film when Cheche, now fully possessed by the spirit of Lucifer floats above his demonic throne in the subteranean cavern below the recently unearthed Church of Saint Michael the Archangel. Truly a moment meant to give credence to the most famous and revered occult saying, "As Above, So Below."

The ensuing dialogue between the fallen angel and the priest adds a much deeper, personal dimension to the confrontation of Good and Evil that is missing in Harlin's film. This one-on-one exchange made the difference in my opinion. As always the subjective nature of reviewing comes down to personal choice. I invite you to view both and decide for yourself.

Stellan Skarsgard is brilliant as Father Merrin, the disillusioned priest who must overcome his deep seated doubts about the existence of God and supernatural evil.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 stars for Schrader's flawed vision October 30, 2005
The central premise and the basic plot of "Dominion" and "The Beginning" are the same what's different is the stylized look of the film and the direction by someone who came into directing from a writer's point of view and a director who came into film direction strictly based on the visual angle. It's a pity that the original director John Frankenheimer ("Seconds", "The Manchurian Candidate", "The French Connection II", "Seven Days in May" "Ronion") had to step down for health reasons (he withdrew from the project and died in 2002)as his visual sense would have complimented the film's screenplay by novelist Calbe Carr (The Alienist) and screenwriter William Wisher ("Terminator 2" and "The 13th Warrior").

The two films, if they were combined (some of Harlin's startling visuals, the script from Schrader's version and the languid style of that film as well)would be an exceptional film in this underperforming series (only "The Exorcist" is a five star classic, "Legion" deserves 3 1/2 stars only because of how Blatty's film was butchered during the re-editing process. It went through much the same rethink process as "Dominion" although the same director stayed throughout).

Many of the visual effects look a bit cheesy with the Aurora Boralis effect at the conclusion looking like it was done on a computer from the early 90'ss. The hyenas just aren't convincing looking for much of the film and it does rob the film of some suspense. "Dominion" is a suspense thriller dealing with the issues of faith and the power of evil to squash humanity.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Better Beginning January 14, 2006
WARNING: possible spoilers ahead...

Every employee at Morgan Creek should be taken out into the courtyard and flogged for burying this movie and letting Renny Harlin unleash his worthless Exorcist prequel on the world in its place. There are certain ideas and concepts that are just meant to be movies, and doing a prequel to the Exorcist is one of them. I really can't understand how anyone could possibly screw up the story. Even Michael Bay should have been able to make a good Exorcist prequel. But Renny Harlin did the impossible, he made a bad Exorcist movie and all the while they had Paul Schrader's version hidden away in a closet.

Now, this is not a great movie, and it doesn't live up to its full potential, but it's not as much of a crime against nature as the version that was released theatrically. If the producers had actually supported Schrader and helped him trim this movie down a bit, we might have had the prequel we were all hoping for.

For anyone who doesn't know the saga of the Exorcist prequel, I will give you the Cliff Notes version. Warner Brothers and Morgan Creek decided to make a prequel to the Exorcist that would basically be the story of a young Father Merrin and how he came to be the Exorcist. Yes, I thought to myself when reading about this... good idea, finally. They hired Caleb Carr, a novelist best known for his book the Alienist, and Paul Schrader a director who's best known for writing Taxi Driver. Okay, now I was starting to get excited. Paul went and shot his movie, but ran into problems when he screened the movie for Morgan Creek and the big brains decided that it was too long and not scary. Caleb Carr started screaming that Schrader was destroying his words. They fired Paul Schrader and brought Renny Harlin in.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!
Very scary, interesting with all the action affects, emotions of characters, sound affects, religious beliefs, predictions that were
to happen.
Published 1 month ago by Randall Canter
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie
Published 1 month ago by Maria
1.0 out of 5 stars prequels are absolutely worthless pictures
Both of these prequels are absolutely worthless pictures, they detract from the brilliance and realism of the first film, which is a superb endeavor. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bartok Kinski
3.0 out of 5 stars Sets the scene well
The exorcist movies are all subject to interpretation. I liked all of them except the original.

Dominion is okay, it follows the original storyline for the exorcist very... Read more
Published 3 months ago by R. Wagner
4.0 out of 5 stars Depends on your POV
Harlin's movie while more action orientated, and a good plot twist was lacking the in the psychological aspect of a man who lost lost his faith (and thereby his self) and gained... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Tom Grega
4.0 out of 5 stars The Devil and Stellan Skarsgard
Stellan Skarsgard was in what I consider the "alternate version" of this movie, "Exorcist - the Beginning". Of the two, I like this one better. Read more
Published 9 months ago by A Siegel
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie
Liked the movie, not super scary but worth watching. Nice prequel to the original Exorcist movie. Although not much modern graphics, the plot was interesting to follow.
Published 13 months ago by M. Vasquez
5.0 out of 5 stars Great.
I have always enjoyed the supernatural. It is sad that possession really does occur. A must see for horror fans.
Published 14 months ago by Tonia Walker
4.0 out of 5 stars ILHM Reviews Dominion: A Prequel to the Exorcist
Set in the years following the Second World War, DOMINION tells the tale of Father Merrin, a wayward priest who has turned to archaeology after his faith is shaken by the war. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Carl Manes
3.0 out of 5 stars Better then Exorcist The Beginning
Thats all I can really say. Nothing more nothing less. Exorcist the beginning was so abysmal that i walked out of the theatre its the only movie that compelled me to do so.
Published 16 months ago by Margarita G. Gutierrez
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