Years before Father Lancaster Merrin helped save Regan MacNeil's soul, he first encounters the demon Pazuzu in East Africa. This is the tale of Father Merrin's initial battle with Pazuzu and the rediscovery of his faith.
2.00 : 1
Rated R for strong violence and gore, disturbing images and rituals, and for language including some sexual dialogue.
Church, Faith, Kenya, Archeologist, Atrocity
DTS, Dolby Digital, SDDS
Supernatural Horror, Period Film
Psychic Abilities, Demonic Possession, Members of the Clergy
Creepy, Gloomy, Goth, Slick, Visceral
Blood and Gore
Has Detailed Data (New)
1, 2, 3, 7, 8
Count - Awards
US Box Office
Country Of Origin
Exorcist: The Beginning is a 2004 prequel to the 1973 film The Exorcist. This is the second version of the third Exorcist sequel. It was adapted by William Wisher Jr., Caleb Carr and Alexi Hawley, and directed by Renny Harlin. The movie stars Stellan Skarsgård, Izabella Scorupco, James D'Arcy, Ben Cross, Ralph Brown and Alan Ford.
Has Detailed Data (New)
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The plot revolves around the crisis of faith suffered by Father Merrin following the horrific events he witnessed during World War II. Many years before the events in The Exorcist, the young Father Lankester Merrin (played by Skarsgård, who played the same part in Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist) travels to East Africa. Merrin has taken a sabbatical from the Church and devoted himself to history and archaeology as he struggles with his shattered faith. He is haunted especially by an incident in a small village in occupied Holland during World War II, where he served as parish priest. Near the end of the war, a sadistic Nazi SS commander, in retaliation for the murder of a German trooper, forces Merrin to participate in arbitrary executions in order to save a full village from slaughter.
After WWII, Merrin is an archaeologist in Cairo, when he is approached by a collector of antiquities who asks him to come to a British excavation in the Turkana region of Kenya. This dig is excavating a Christian Byzantine church from the 5th century — long before Christianity had reached that region of Africa. Merrin is asked by the collector to recover an ancient relic of a demon before the British can find it. Merrin agrees and travels to the dig site. He is joined by Father Francis, a Vatican scholar who was on his way to do missionary work in East Africa but is diverted by the Vatican to ensure that the church is not desecrated. Upon arriving at the dig, Merrin meets the Major Granville, the British military officer in charge of the dig. Merrin also meets chief excavator, a brutish Frenchman with visible boils on his face. And he meets Sarah, a doctor who spent time in a concentration camp during WWII and is haunted by what happened to her there. Merrin's translator and guide is Chuma. In addition, Merrin learns that the diggers are disappearing or leaving in droves because the local tribemen fear the church is cursed. Merrin witnesses a digger inexplicably experience a seizure.
Merrin visits the dig site, although only the dome is uncovered, with the rest of the church buried beneath the earth. Merrin discovers that the church is in perfect condition, as though it had been buried immediately after the construction was completed. Merrin, Francis, and Chuma enter the church through the dome. They find it is near pristine condition, but there are two oddities. First, all of the statues of the angels holding weapons are pointing the spears downward, whereas it is convention for statues of angels not to have weapons or for them to be pointed triumphantly to heaven. Merrin and Francis deduce the sculptors were trying to depict the angels restraining something that was beneath the church. The second disturbing discovery is that someone has vandalized the church by ripping the enormous crucifix from its place on the altar and suspending it with Christ on the cross in an upside position, which is considered a desecration.
Merrin is determined to learn more about the archeological dig and asks to consult with the lead archeologist, Monsieur Bession. Merrin is told by Sarah that Bession went insane three weeks earlier and was transferred to a mental hospital in Nairobi. Merrin visits Bession's tent at the dig site and sees dozens of drawings of the same thing, the demon artifact that Merrin was asked to find by the collector. Merrin then travels to Nairobi to visit Bession. But when he enters Bession's room, he discovers Bession has carved a swastika on his chest and is speaking through demonic possession in the voice of the sadistic SS commander who tormented Merrin during the war. As Merrin registers these events, Bession slashes his own throat after saying he was "free." Father Gionetti, warden of the asylum, speculates that Bession was not possessed but rather "touched" by a demon, which drove him mad and eventually to suicide. Merrin is very skeptical, but before he returns to the dig site, Father Gionetti gives him the volume of Roman rituals to use in exorcism, although Merrin claims he will never use them.
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