The Exorcism (2024) Movie Review – A little bit of trauma and spice and a lot of scary eyes

A little bit of trauma and spice and a lot of scary eyes

Russell Crowe seems to have taken a liking to exorcism movies as we now get him in the 2024 horror The Exorcism following his stint in The Pope’s Exorcist last year. Well, The Exorcism released in June 2024 is helmed by Joshua John Miller of The Final Girls fame and has a starry cast including Russell Crowe, Ryan Simpkins, Sam Worthington, Chloe Bailey, David Hyde Pierce, Adam Goldberg and a sneaky cameo by Adrian Pasdar.

With a meta-theme, The Exorcism begins with the production of a horror movie that is a remake of a popular movie. Crowe’s Anthony is a deadbeat dad and a mediocre actor with addiction problems. It doesn’t help that he has a strained relationship with his daughter, Lee who is your usual rebellious teenager.

After being kicked out of school, she ends up moving in with her dad who tries to reconnect with her. As he books the horror movie gig, things seem to be looking up for the duo, that is till filming actually begins.

Anthony plays Father Arlington who is an exorcist tasked with helping a teenage girl who has been possessed by the demon Molech (Moloch). Despite there being a real priest on set, Father Conor who is also a psychologist, the movie starts taking a toll on Anthony.

Oh yeah, he was an altar boy as a kid which led to a traumatic incident (you can guess what type). While his troubles may be of the supernatural type, it is hard to tell as everyone around him thinks he has gone back to his drinking habits which is affecting the filming. 

Right from the bat, The Exorcism sets the tone with a desaturated theme where the colour is even leached from the reds. It follows up with unnerving camera angles and heavy shadows. The sets of the fake movie are in cold, isolated empty sound stages that add to the thriller aspect. We also get pretty cool visual tricks like Anthony’s eyes literally darkening at times when he is initially disoriented making us wonder if we are seeing things like Lee.

But the movie stands out for its meta tropes and breaking of the 4th wall which is intriguing. At one point, viewers are told that the production is filming a psychological drama wrapped in a horror movie. And we even see this in The Exorcism as well thanks to the constant parallels.

Even though it is all about the mystery, the events that unfold are all related to Anthony and Lee’s psyche. The haunting and their reactions to it give them realistic character arcs, even if it is during a short time period. The movie also critiques the very foundation of movie making and the pressure actors go through while taking up challenging roles.

However, we wish the movie would have also explored the other secondary characters such as the pretentious director, Anthony’s traitorous co-star and the frank teenage actor. Father Conor adds to the suspense, but in the end, even he is underutilised which is a bummer. The movie should also explore Anthony’s traumatic past and give the bad guy more influence to create a high-stakes situation which is a missed opportunity.

And that’s The Exorcism for you, with a little bit of trauma and spice and a whole lot of scary eyes. Well, if you like a self-aware movie that questions its own genre, blends psychological and horror tropes and does not use jump scares liberally, give The Exorcism a try.

Read More: The Exorcism Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 5/10

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