Picks and Pans Review: Exorcist: The Beginning

UPDATED 09/06/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/06/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

Stellan Skarsgård, Izabella Scorupco
HORROR

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The devil needs a new agent. Ol' Beelzebub is the fall guy yet again—and he still doesn't rate a personal appearance—in this third film spun off The Exorcist. In this mediocre prequel, set in Kenya in 1949, there's no 360-degree head-spinning or pea-soup regurgitation, but a possessed woman does spew vulgar sexual propositions, and a child is chewed by hyenas.

This Exorcist's main link to the original 1973 film is the presence of Father Merrin (Skarsgård), the demon-dueling priest first played by Max von Sydow. Disillusioned here after WWII, he has left the church but discovers that, even though he didn't file a change of address with hell, the devil still knows where to find him. (R)

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