Saturday, October 2, 2010
Movie #2 The Exorcist III
It is inherently obvious while watching The Exorcist III, that the idea of exorcism was an afterthought for the film and (after some research) I discovered I was right on this assumption. Originally titled "Legion" and based on a novel from the writer of the original Exorcist, the film does nothing in its first hour to even suggest that it is an Exorcist movie. Its ties to the original film are slim and the the film begins to pull in its connections out of left field and where not so much as a drop of suspension of disbelief can be applied because of their inability to match up to the original's story and their moronic implications.
Like its predecessor, The Exorcist III has a good basic premise, with poor execution, but certainly not to the same extent as part 2. This time around the story focuses on Lt. Kinderman (portrayed by Patton himself George C. Scott) investigating a series of murders that occurred around the same time as Regan's exorcism and are happening again, and (45 minutes into the movie) how the murders could somehow be tied BACK to the exorcism. The suspected killer doing all of this nasty business is played by one of my favorite character actors and horror alumni, Brad Dourif, and he quickly becomes the most redeeming quality of the movie. As I said earlier, the movie starts pulling plot threads out of nowhere to make it affiliated with the original and to make it viable as a sequel, and being as big of a fan as I am of the original I didn't like the associations at all.
The Exorcist III is a good example of shoddy film making and the studio mindset of let's make a quick dollar off of this. This movie breaks the first fundamental rule of movie making, "show, don't tell." There are at least two scenes where an exterior shot is shown, and the entire conversation from inside is heard and is so obviously ADR'd into the scene. Also the bodies of the murdered people are never shown, something that can't be done in horror if it wishes to please the fans. There are also fundamental flaws with all of the characters, as things are shown to us on screen and implied that none of the characters saw it, even though it's something very profound and important to the story.
The main thing that I find so wrong with this movie is its incredibly goofy nature. The movie is different from actual Horror Comedies though, as most of the funny elements weren't intended and it doesn't use the motif of horror comedies that is either scaring us then making us feel okay by making us laugh, or making us laugh then scaring us because we don't expect it. The movie goes on for 75 minutes of unintentionally funny performances, silly lines, and celebrity cameos (Sam Jackson AND Fabio in the same scene). This movie is almost only a Leslie Nielsen away from being a Naked Gun movie, and we put up with this for 70% of the movie because only in the last 30% does it stop being silly and start being scary.
This is where I can finally give the movie some praise, once it finally starts being scary it does it very well. While it does try and go for the cheap quick scares, they are affective; but more importantly is its set up and delivery with the scares on a more grand scale also work. Even though it has a dilapidated script and cheesy acting, William Peter Blatty's direction is quite good in the last act of the movie. The only actual exorcism in the movie (which takes place in the final 15 minutes), has marvelous special effects and the gore in the scene is very good.
After thinking about the movie before writing this review, I decided that I rather liked it and probably would have liked it a lot more if it had been called Legion and not The Exorcist III. This does not mean that the movie is good, because it is very mediocre as a whole; the amount of good parts to bad parts is outweighed significantly even though the good parts are really good.