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Exorcist - The Beginning (Widescreen Edition)

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Exorcist - The Beginning (Widescreen Edition) + Dominion - Prequel to the Exorcist + The Exorcist III
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Exorcist: The Beginning (DVD) (WS)

In the aftermath of World War II, Lankester Merrin finds himself in the remote Turkana region of Kenya. Haunted by memories of the war, he has taken a sabbatical from the priesthood and journeyed far from his native Holland. He has come to lead the archeological excavation of a mysterious Byzantine church, buried in pristine condition, as if on the day it was completed. Directly underneath the church, Merrin discovers a much more ancient crypt--and finds himself face-to-face with unspeakable Evil. Madness descends on the local villagers and the contingent of British soldiers sent to guard the excavation. Merrin watches helplessly as the atrocities of war are repeated against another innocent village--atrocities he'd hoped to never see again. The blood of innocents flows freely on the East African plain, but the horror has only just begun in Exorcist: The Beginning.

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Additional Features

The sparse special features on the DVD release of Exorcist: The Beginning are a commentary track by director Renny Harlin and a brief making-of featurette. Together they give scant insight to a movie that should have been better received in its theatrical release, if only for the pedigree of its franchise. The best thing about the movie is its ambitiously art-directed period plotline that shows Father Merrin's (Stellan Skarsgård) first brush with the demon that would bedevil the same character in William Friedkin's 1973 masterpiece, The Exorcist. Skarsgård is believable as a younger version of the older movie's Merrin, Max von Sydow, and he discusses his apprehension about filling such famous shoes in the documentary. But there are precious few behind-the-scenes details related in interview segments with Harlin and the film's producer. It's a typically run-of-the-mill DVD extra, heavy on clips and with nary a word about the infamous version filmed by Paul Schrader, then scrapped by the studio in favor of one with more gore and overt frights. (There were rumors of a DVD release containing both versions, but that plan was apparently scuttled.) Harlin's commentary is only slightly more enlightening--he talks a lot about the delights and logistics of shooting in Rome's famed Cinecitta Studios--but again, he's mum on being called in late to render an alternate prequel to one of the '70s all-time-great movies. The famous Exorcist curse did stay with him, however. He was hit by a car early on in the production and directed most of the movie on crutches. --Ted Fry

Special Features

  • Behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Stellan Skarsgard, James D'Arcy, Izabella Scorupco, Remy Sweeney, Julian Wadham
  • Directors: Renny Harlin
  • Writers: Alexi Hawley, Caleb Carr, William Wisher
  • Producers: James G. Robinson, Guy McElwaine, David Robinson
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen, DTS Surround Sound
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 14, 2006
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00065HKLG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,218 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Exorcist - The Beginning (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jesse B. Tibbits on September 24, 2006
Format: DVD
I was involved in the making of this film back in 2003/2004. I was hired as a wardrobe supplier. In fact, I still own the famous violet dress Izabella Scorupco(Dr.Sarah)wore in the final showdown with Lankaster. So, I feel the need to explain some things to the public. It's been two years now and I'm very upset with all the bashing this film has taken since it's release on home video/cable. Most of these reviews I've been reading on the internet are not only harsh but very cruel and also very ignorant. One even said they could not believe Izabella as a demon because she is "too prettty." Another one wrote they couldn't believe Stellan Skarsgard as the younger Father Merrin beause he is "too fat" to have lived long enough to be the old priest in 1973. People like this have no business writting reviews for anyone. I will remind them and all of you that don't already know. This was the only "Exorcist" film since the original to go to #1 at the box office. The second film couldn't do it even with Linda Blair. The third film couldn't do it with George C. Scott and Jason Miller. This should tell you something. It was not a great film but it is not that bad. There were many problems for sure, that is why the making of "Prequel" came about. Directors, writers and studio heads will not always agree on things. The original director, John Frankenheiemer died and Paul Schrader was brought in to make the film. The studio executives at Morgan Creek (the studio)liked the insightful story-line but felt a "Exorcist" film should be more intense and exciting. Renny Harlin was then brought in to give them just that. In the end, I don't blame them. The Exorcist films are horror and shock, not a story of a man and his personal demons for two hours with a bald devil that is more shrink than devil.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chad DeFeo on September 7, 2006
Format: DVD
In 2004, a fourth installment to THE EXORCIST was released to audiences around the world, for them to feel more terror. This installment is brilliantly and appropriately titled, EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING. This sequel is a prequel showing you Father Lankester Merrin's first encounter with the deadly Evil Spirit before it went on to possess Regan McNeil.

In the 1940s, LANKESTER MERRIN (played by the brilliant Stellan Skarsgård) has recently lost his faith in God, and has decided to withdrawl his priesthood. He continues his life as an Archeologist Investigator. He is assigned a new case: to investigate the strange goingson in the city of Kenya, Africa. He travels to Kenya with FATHER FRANCIS (played by James D'Arcy) by his side. They arrive in Kenya, where they meet the beautiful SARAH (played by the beautiful Izabella Scorupco), a nurse working at the local hospital. After meeting Sarah, Lankester meets young JAMES (played by James Bellamy), and his younger brother, JOSEPH (played by Remy Sweeney). Lankester, Father Francis, and Sarah discover that a beautiful church was built in Kenya only to be buried after it was completed. The local Africans continue to dig it up, and with the help of Lankester, investigate why this church was buried when its construction was completed.

That late afternoon, James and Joseph are playing around in a nearby cave, where hyenas stumble upon James and Joseph, and viciously kill James, where they leave Joseph in shock. Joseph's father takes him to the hospital where Sarah cares for him. Over the course of the next few days, Lankester and Sarah begin seeing things that are more evil than you could ever imagine. They enter the church, which has finally been uncovered, and begin searching for the answers they are in need of.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 6, 2005
Format: DVD
It's said that the devil is in the details and director Renny Harlin ("Die Hard 2", "Cliffhanger") gets many of the details right in this prequel to "The Exorcist". Although it doesn't compare to the original film (nor the third sequel directed by William Peter Blatty), "Exorcist: The Beginning" features a number of memorable performances and some startling imagery. While it may lack depth, the film does attempt to create something different and original from the original film and the tepid sequel that followed. Father Merrin (Stellan Skårsgard) has buried his faith along with a terrible incident from his past. Merrin has been hired by a mysterious man named Semelier (Ben Cross in a cameo appearance) to go to a Kenyan dig. It seems that Semelier feels that Merrin's skills as an archeologist will come in handy in helping a team uncover the mystery of a church dating back a thousand years before any Christian set foot in Kenya. The area seems cursed as the original archeologist has gone insane; the area has a history of plagues and death associated with it. What Merrin uncovers exhumes his faith breathing new life into it but also shakes him to his very core. Accompanied by Father Francis (James D'Arcy) sent by the Vatican as an observer and assisted by Sarah (Izabella Scorupco) a visiting physician , Merrin must uncover the mystery at the heart of this ancient church before disaster strikes.Read more ›
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