The Exorcism: Mark Kermode reviews the 2024 horror film (video).

In a world where horror movie clichés lurk like shadows in a haunted house, “The Exorcism” emerges as the latest entry in the genre’s demonically possessed canon. Directed by Joshua John Miller, who clearly didn’t get the memo about subtlety, this supernatural thriller stars Russell Crowe as Anthony Miller, an actor so method he literally jumps out of windows to avoid dialogue.

The plot unfolds like a mishmash of every exorcism flick you’ve ever streamed past midnight. Miller’s portrayal of a priest in crisis—struggling with demons both literal and metaphorical—becomes a meta-nightmare as his character and sanity unravel faster than you can say “Hollywood cliché”. Crowe, known for his intensity, spends most of the film looking like he’s about to deliver a soliloquy on the evils of overcooked steak rather than battling supernatural forces.

Enter Miller’s daughter, Lee (Ryan Simpkins), our token level-headed teen who’s not just battling her dad’s inner demons but also dodging flying glass and suspiciously generous Catholic priests. Sam Worthington pops up as Joe, a replacement priest who’s more bewildered by the script than the possessed Miller, and David Hyde Pierce plays Father Conor—a combination psychiatrist-priest who seems more confused than anyone about what exactly is possessing whom.

Critics have panned “The Exorcism” for its predictable scares and reliance on tired tropes, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a score that’s lower than the chance of a demon vacationing in the Bahamas. The film’s attempt at deep psychological horror is as convincing as Crowe’s attempt at an American accent—half-hearted, occasionally entertaining, but ultimately forgettable. Despite its flaws, “The Exorcism” manages to offer a few moments of unintentional hilarity, like when Miller performs his own stunts without the aid of a stunt double or sanity check. The film’s greatest scare, perhaps, is its ability to make you ponder why possessed priests always seem to have better abs than actual priests.

The Exorcism proves that even in the realm of horror, demons and clichés are eternal bedfellows. So, grab your crucifix, dim the lights, and prepare for an exorcism-themed rollercoaster that’s less spine-chilling and more eye-rolling—because when it comes to horror, sometimes the scariest thing is the script.


Colonel Frog is a long time science fiction and fantasy fan. He loves reading novels in the field, and he also enjoys watching movies (as well as reading lots of other genre books).

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