Sunday, April 4, 2010

Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

Dir: John Boorman
Netflix streaming

So I was pretty enthusiastic about the first four films in my Boorman fest, unfortunately that all changed with the Exorcist II. The film has a pretty bad reputation and it certainly is far from perfect, but to Boorman's credit he does try and do something completely different from it's predecessor. This is probably the main reason for the disdain, the movie is the exact opposite of The Exorcist. While the original is tense and claustrophobic, this one opens the story up to the entire world, specifically to Africa where James Earl Jones plays a former victim of the demon. In doing this, we see that the world the film resides in, demon possession has nothing to do with a Christian mythology. This also opens the door to bring a rather silly subplot about mental telepathy. The story picks up with Reagan (Linda Blair) the child possessed in the first film and now a few years older. She meets a new priest (Richard Burton) at therapy who wants to know what Reagan remembers about her experience. This leads to world travel, psychic binds, and demon possession. The film is pretty lite on horror and overly long. I can only imagine that Boorman agreed to make the film after Zardoz because he felt like he needed a hit, but that's just speculation. I hate to dismiss the film outright, there are some interesting ideas going on in it, it just never clicks.


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