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The Exorcism

In Joshua John Miller's "The Exorcism," Russell Crowe plays Anthony Miller, an actor and recovering addict who is thrown into a role as a priest beset upon by demons. As Crowe dives into the role, under horrible and unflinching guidance from a director played by Adam Goldberg, he is forced to confront his own personal "demons." But as more strange things begin to occur on set, the question becomes how much is him and how much is from something else at play? During his attempt to exorcise his demons, is Miller forced to confront actual demons plaguing the creation of this film?

Whenever the word exorcism is used in the cinematic realm, audience's first thoughts go to one of the ultimate horror classics, “The Exorcist.” This film recognizes its ultimate predecessor and some other horror classics as well. Yet the connection between this film and the iconic original lies far deeper than this casual mentioning. Joshua John Miller is the son of Jason Miller, who played Father Karras in "The Exorcist." Additionally, the title of the film featured in “The Exorcism” is “The Georgetown Project,” a sly reference to the part of the city in Washington, DC, where “The Exorcist” was filmed.  

The extremely cool feature of the film is that it looks like "The Exorcist" and seems to document the curious nature of the strange happenings that occurred during the actual filming of the classic in which Jason Miller starred. It's not beyond conception that many of the truly strange and well-documented occurrences during the filming in the seventies were re-created in this film. One can hear Jason sharing stories with his son that he has waited until now to share.

For this reason and others, “The Exorcism” becomes more of a meta-psychological thriller than a true horror film. While some creepy and unsettling events are in the film, none truly rise to a level most would recognize as horror. There are a few minor jump scares, but this film lives in its own realm.

Rarely does an actor get the opportunity to redeem a work, but Crowe’s work in this film is much better in depth and substance than the one he gave in “The Pope’s Exorcist.” Ryan Simpkins is very good as the rebellious yet loving daughter concerned for her father’s safety and sobriety. Kudos also go to Adam Goldberg for embodying one of the most dangerous types of directors an actor can face, one who disregards concern for the person and cares only for the work.

“The Exorcism” is an exercise in story and creative visuals that attempts to create a new type of horror.  It may not succeed, but the attempt is admirable.


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Film Credits

The Exorcism movie poster

The Exorcism (2024)

Rated R

93 minutes

Cast

Russell Crowe as Anthony Miller

Ryan Simpkins as Lee Miller

Sam Worthington as Joe

Chloe Bailey as Blake Holloway

Adam Goldberg as Peter

David Hyde Pierce as Father Conor

Director

Writer

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