Chris MacNeil is a successful and famous actress. While working on a film in Washington DC, she is living in a beautiful home in Georgetown with full staff. She and her husband are separated; husband is in Europe and daughter Regan lives with mom in Georgetown. Regan is a cheerful, typical 12-year old, at least at the beginning of the film. Slowly her behavior starts to change. Regan has odd experiences, and is worked up medically and thoroughly, sparing no expense, but no explanations are found. Meanwhile her behavior becomes more and more erratic, disturbing, and inexplicable.
Everyone’s been talking this ‘thon about how scary this movie is, and I’ve avoided it my whole life for that very reason. The upside: I was in for a hell of a treat today when I got to watch The Exorcist for the first time ever. The downside: I knew about some key plot points and images going in to the movie, which decreased the potential scare and shock value. Decreased, not eliminated.
Like my other favorite horror movies (The Shining, Alien, Silence of the Lambs) The Exorcist is a great movie, not “just” a great horror movie. The casting and acting are brilliant. Linda Blair was amazing as the tween girl transforming into a violent, blasphemous monster before our eyes. None of the horrific scenes are gratuitous; they are essential to the story, and the building tension is not dissipated until the end of the film. The movie is long (always a minus during horrorthon) but the length doesn’t feel excessive. I think the movie is effective, scary, and shocking not because of its excellent special effects, but because it’s a “realistic” and beautifully made movie. To my own extreme surprise, The Exorcist is now on my list of all-time favorite movies. Thank you Horrorthon!