After the general failure to the Exorcist 2 (I didn't think it was that bad.... it just wasn't that good) I held minimal hopes for this one, but upon loading this bad boy up, the opening scene of the priest amidst a back drop of crusaders crucified upside down I knew this one would be good.
Exorcist film, when a much younger father Merrin has lost faith and left the priest hood to go on an archaeological dig in Africa to figure out what's going on with an unknown church that has been discovered. He settles in with the locals both a priest, Father Francis, the local Africans and tribesman, and even strikes up a friendship with a pretty young archaeologist, Sarah. Things start to get weird around the camp when he is able to enter the church and it appears to be a shrine to Lucifer the fallen angel.
This is where I have to commend the creatives behind this film... If you are into the occult or religious studies this follows the mythology of the fall from the heavens of the warrior angels who rebelled against God quite well... the religious (anti religious) symbolism is used excellently throughout the film and really adds an atmosphere of the arcane to proceedings
Nobody knows who built the church but father Merrin works out it is built on the spot where the rebel angels are said to have fallen to Earth after the battle that got them kicked out of heaven. Instead of leaving it alone (like the natives suggested) curiousity gets the better of them and they unleash an ancient evil upon the camp and unsuspecting victims and Father Merrin is called upon to use the ancient roman ritual of the Exorcism
I wouldn't go so far as to say this is as good as the original Exorcist film but its a worthy sequel (unlike Exorcist 2) and lends an interesting background to the origins of both Fr. Merrin and the evil entity, Pazuzu that possesses Reagan in the first film, I found it kept my interest the whole way through the film and it was a gripping watch that stimulated me intellectually as well.
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