Exorcist – Dominion/Exorcist – The Beginning

Exorcist – Dominion
Exorcist – The Beginning

Rating – 3 out of 5, but if you watch them together 4 out of 5

Who can forget the Exorcist? A movie that can still scare us decades later. But how did it all start? Here we have not one, but two ways to try and explain that. And honestly each movie has flaws and well as its good part and while the plot between the two movies is similar they do go in separate directions.

Quite frankly, had they combined these two movies together and removed the overlapping scenes it would have made for a pretty good movie. So even though each movie is somewhat weak on its own, watching both of them back to back makes for a pretty good story.

Father Merrin goes to Africa on an archaeological dig after a church has been uncovered. We get the sense the church has a sinister past which may be caught up in voodoo or tribal legend. There is trouble in the land of the dig and a mass burial and cover-up seems to going on. And the more of the church that is discovered and uncovered the more mysterious happenings begin to take shape.

If nothing else we learn a lot of Father Merrin and his dealings with the Nazis. We learn of the horrors he has had to witness and the sacrifices he has made to survive. We learn how his faith has been tested and his somewhat shaky relationship to the church.

As stand alone movies they are somewhat hit and miss, as both movies have their flaws, plot holes and different story lines, but as a background pieces they work quite well. As I mentioned, it’s best to see both of them to get the real story of this movie. One movie is too Hollywood, while the other has an under whelmed horror theme. Pick and choose the best pieces as you watch and it makes for a good story.

But look at this way, they are both on sale at Amazon and you get both for less than the cost of the Exorcist.

Dominion – Prequel to the Exorcist
Exorcist – The Beginning

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The Omen – Remake – 06-06-06

The Omen – Remake – Rating 3 out of 5

What makes this movie a good one is the same thing that makes it bad. It’s literally a repeat of the original movie. Very little has been changed as far as the story goes, while the sets and locations have all been updated. Although one scene of note is the decapitation scene is fully intact in this rendition even though it was cut from the original DVD release of the original Omen.

We all know the story – a set of parents lose their child during birth while another child loses its mother during birth. So what to do? Switch the babies and act like nothing ever happened. Good plan.

Except for the baby you take home is the spawn of evil. Damien has become synonymous with evil and this movie once again shows us why. Maids hang themselves, mom almost falls and kills herself at the top of the stairs and all sorts of other “accidents” occur.

If you’ve never seen The Omen then this is a fine version to get. It’s updated, more stylized, and faithfully follows the original story. All the original elements are there – the photographer who can see the impending death of others in the negative of the pictures he takes, the whole slew of “accidents” (including the decapitation), the journey to uncover the truth, etc. However, if you seen the original then this really adds nothing to the mix. The story is the same and it has been expanded or changed at all.

The acting is a little stiffer, but the scenes are nicely done. If you’re one for completing sets (like me) then go ahead and get it (plus its dirt cheap on Amazon). If you are looking for something new in this version you’ll be disappointed.

Overall, it’s worth watching just to see the updated wardrobe and scenery, but you won’t gain any new insight by watching this one. Still a worthwhile movie to watch.

Buy your copy for $6.98

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Dead Silence – Rating 3 out of 5

Dead Silence – Rating 3 out of 5

If you don’t like ventriloquist dolls or those damnable clown dolls like we see in Poltergeist then you will hate them even more after this.

What starts off ominously with a old and dirty ventriloquist doll dropped off on the doorstep on a newlyweds apartment. Right off the bat we hate this doll with his demonic eyes and creepy look.

The doll springs to life and begins hacking and slashing the wife. The husband comes home to find her terribly disfigured and he is the prime suspect. What follows is a fairly uneventful and fairly lame story.

Mary Shaw, a master ventriloquist, who was apparently mocked on stage, is seeking revenge for the smart ass of comment of one young boy. Her name is not to be spoken and apparently she is quite the hell spawn. Our young hero must now figure out how to undo the curse.

What could have been a truly atmospheric and creepy movie is a fairly silly and boring tale. There is very little suspense, poor acting (even Donnie Wahlberg seems comical as the detective) and a story that really has no meat on it – a band of dolls will rise up and destroy everyone?

This movie pales in comparison to Saw and it has no real memorable qualities of its own. It has some scary moments, some great scenery such as the abandoned theater, but overall there is really nothing to love about this movie.

It’s interesting to watch just to see what the creators of Saw can do, but it’s not a keeper. The dolls are creepy, the movie isn’t.

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An American Haunting – Rating 2 out of 5

An American Haunting – Rating 2 out of 5

At around 80 minutes this movie is over before it really gets started.

We start off with a young girl running through the snow covered woods of Tennessee trying to flee from some unknown force. She scurries up to her room, locks the door and waits for the terror to pass. She is then shattered out of her dream and back to reality by her mom.

The mother finds some papers and a doll and begins to investigate matters. It’s always better to do the “Nancy Drew bit” with a bottle of Absolut at your side. So off she goes.

We then jump back to the 1800’s to the home of John Bell (Donald Sutherland). We find he has committed the terrible act of usury. He has charged 20% interest to Kate Batts in regards to the sale of some land.

During a quickie court proceeding Bell’s good name is tarnished and that is punishment enough. Not content, Batts slaps a curse on Bell and his daughter. That’s when trouble starts.

The daughter is then plagued by demons who proceed to tie her up, slap the crap out of her and drag her all over the house by her hair. Of course the drunken preacher reads from the good book, antagonizes the spirit and tries to make it go away. The father sinks into depression because he can’t help his daughter and more evidence is uncovered to prove Kate Batts put the whammy on the girl.

There is some good atmosphere to this movie and some great scenery, but overall this movie is confusing and stiff. Very little is done to save the girl and pretty much everyone stands around letting the spirit do whatever it wants. There is a lot of screaming in the dark, lots of thuds, plenty of thrashing on the part of the girl and even a wicked chase scene involving a horse drawn coach.

But overall this movie goes nowhere. Is the girl possessed? Will there be an exorcism? Will the rest of the town be involved? Will someone be branded a witch?

To put it simply, no. The movie goes nowhere until we jump to the present for the end of the movie where we get some implication that the father is the one who terrorized the girl (possibly due to some father/daughter rape/incest or some such which is never explained). In the end, the Vodka soaked mother is now traumatized that her daughter is in danger as she leaves to visit her father (again, no explanation for any of this, did we even know she was married/divorced?).

There was a lot of potential in this movie and plenty to work with since it was based on true events, but this is poor execution, a vague plot riddled with holes, stiff acting and ultimately we go nowhere. Very disappointing and not even worth watching for its scare factor.

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