THE EXORCISM (2024)

Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: Joshua John Miller
Cast: Russell Crowe, Ryan Simpkins, Sam Worthington, Chloe Bailey, Adam Goldberg, David Hyde Pierce
Runtime: 1 hr 36 mins
Rating: M18 (Mature Content and Horror)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 4 July 2024

Synopsis: The Exorcism stars Academy Award-winner Russell Crowe as Anthony Miller, a troubled actor who begins to unravel while shooting a supernatural horror film. His estranged daughter, Lee (Ryan Simpkins), wonders if he's slipping back into his past addictions or if there's something more sinister at play.

Movie Review:

Didn’t Russell Crowe just star in a movie about exorcism, where he played Father Gabriele Amorth who uncovered a conspiracy that the Vatican was trying to hide? One year on, the Academy Award winner is putting on a clerical attire again to portray, well, an actor playing a priest.

Crowe’s latest movie may remind viewers of the phenomenal classic The Exorcist (1973). And speaking about one of the greatest horror movies of all time, the writer and director of this 2024 title is Joshua John Miller, the real life son of actor Jason Miller, who played Father Damien Karras in The Exorcist. How’s that for meta horror?

Set in New York City, the movie’s protagonist is Anthony Miller (Crowe), an actor who has seen better days, no thanks to his alcohol and drug problems. Age isn’t on his side as well, as he gets plagued by health issues. The widower isn’t blessed with family love either, as shown from the strained relationship with his daughter Lee (Ryan Simpkins), who has returned home after getting kicked out of school.

Anthony seems to have gotten an opportunity to turn things around when he is asked to replace an actor on a supernatural horror movie “The Georgetown Project” (the movie set will remind you of The Exorcist) The thing is, the original actor died from a freak accident while inspecting the movie set, and we know things won’t bode well for Anthony.

As the 95 minute movie progresses, we find out more about Anthony’s sad past – it turns out that he was sexually abused by a priest when he was a child, and it seems like he never recovered from the trauma. When the film production begins, strange things begin happening which sees Anthony progressively becoming someone who looks like he’s possessed by the devil.

From the storyline, one can only imagine how the horror flick isn’t going to spark any joy. Crowe does an excellent job portraying a man haunted by his past, dealing with the death of his wife, and getting caught up with alcohol and drug addictions. There are many close up shots of the actor, and they heartbreakingly show the pain the guy is experiencing. This reminds us of the fine performances he delivered in Gladiator (2000), A Beautiful Mind (2001) and Cinderella Man (2005).

That said, there is also something that is weighing this movie down which makes it dreary to watch. We remember Crowe having quite a bit of fun with his role in The Pope’s Exorcist (complete with a great shots of him riding a scooter), and this is sorely missed here. The scares aren’t particularly memorable as well, and fans of the genre would have seen similar setups elsewhere. While familiar faces like David Hyde Pierce (as a priest who is a consultant for the film) and Sam Worthington (as a co star who replaces Anthony when his on set behaviour gets dangerous) show up, the result is a forgettable horror movie that doesn’t add any value to Crowe’s filmography. Looks like we have to await the sequel to The Pope’s Exorcist, where the actor is reportedly reprising his role.

 Movie Rating:

(While Russell Crowe's performance as a man dealing with grief and pain is heartbreaking, it would have been nice if the otherwise dreary movie allowed him to have some fun)

Review by John Li 


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