Scott Bailey’s review published on Letterboxd:
"The Power of Christ compels you!"
So for my first film for Hoop-Tober 3.0, I had the bright idea of trying to scare myself to death, and I almost succeeded. The Exorcist directed by William Friedkin is one of the most intense horror films I have ever sat through and if you appreciate great filmmaking with exceptional cinematography, great acting, and make up effects that are so visceral, they seriously get under your skin, this is a must-watch film.
Linda Blair's performance as the possessed child Regan, is one of the most uncomfortable things I have ever seen put to screen. Just the very sight of her going from being an innocent 12 year old girl to the sight of her in that make-up when shes possessed is just a horrifying sight. The voice acting from Mercedes McCambridge when she is possessed is exceptional and really is chilling to the bone. There was actually points in that performance where I couldn't tell weather it was a man or a woman that voiced it and that just speak volumes to her overall talent.
Ellen Burstyn is also outstanding as the girls mother, you see her suffer an emotional breakdown and find things more and more desperate as she tries desperately to find help for her daughter. I feel the film does a great job of developing both her and Regan in the film, and part of what's so scary about this film is that I did find myself attached to both characters. There's also that sense of dread and hopelessness to both of them because you know that even if they both survive the ordeal, it's damaging to the point where you know it would scar them for the rest of their lives.
There is hardly any jump scares in The Exorcist at all and instead it just relies on it's characters and it's story to make an impact and leave a lasting impression, and I definitely think it succeeds on that.
The cinematography by Owen Roizman is incredible in this film and watching this film I realised just how much filmmakers like John Carpenter are influenced by this film. Like Halloween for example, where you would see so many moments there you would see a lot of dolly shots utilised in the film, to create a claustrophobic atmosphere. The lighting in some of the exorcism scenes it made it look real and lifelike.
The main theme from Mike Oldfield needs absolutely no introduction, it is amazing. It does actually surprise me though that there other than that theme there a very minimal use of a musical score here. I found this approach to be very subtle and effective and I can honestly say the most messed up things that happen in this movie genuinely took me by surprise because you don't see it coming.
Having thought about it, it does deserve 5 stars even though I don't see myself rewatching it too often. That's rare for me, as usually it is an necessity, but William Friedkin is so effective in building and sustaining an intense atmosphere that I was feeling constantly anxious throughout the whole thing. That actually shows just how effective the film is!.
It's a great film and one of the most important films, not just in the horror genre, but in film in general. It definitely isn't a film I will be forgetting in a hurry and it is simply a masterpiece!
🔪Hoop-Tober 3.0 Review #1
🔪(1/7) Seven films from franchises (mix-and-match or the same)
🔪(1/6) Six countries
🔪(1/5) Five decades
Note: Apologies for being early with this review. Had to watch it quickly because of it being an online blu ray rental. I won't make a habit of this :)