The Exorcist [Blu-Ray] William Friedkin

The Exorcist [Blu-Ray] William Friedkin
Religious or not, 1973 feature The Exorcist is scary. Twelve-year-old Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) is growing uncontrollable. Her mother, Chris (Ellen Burstyn), can't figure out what's going on, eventually calling in Father Karras (Jason Miller), who discovers Regan is possessed. Through the assistance of Father Merrin (Max von Sydow), the two perform an exorcism that exacts a stream of horrific events on all involved. While the plot sounds rather basic, thanks to Friedkin's aesthetic, it set an unmatchable standard for virtually all horror films to come. Seeing Regan self-abuse, torment and ravage is unnerving. Adding the demonic context only serves to amplify a fear and artistic discomfort that is already present. Factor in the realistic presentation, as opposed to overwrought delivery, and it's no wonder The Exorcist has survived as one of film's ― horror or otherwise ― greatest accomplishments. As for this double-disc Blu-Ray release, the flick has been given a deservedly deluxe treatment. The first portion features 2000's "Extended Director's Cut," with 11 minutes of re-established footage. While the legendary "spider-walk" scene is entertaining, the majority feels off when compared to Friedkin's original, boasting only marginally valuable edits. Interesting but not entirely convincing, this disc is clearly secondary to disc two's original 1973 version, which remains untouched, other than the obvious sound and image updating. Moreover, the collection becomes increasingly poignant, with ample extras that are just as exciting and enjoyable as the film: a full-colour booklet with trivia, gripping three-part documentary on the film's production and enduring legacy, as well as "Making Of" titbits that include how certain shots and effects were established, and a comparison between sets then and now. Two commentaries by Friedkin and producer/screenwriter William Peter Blatty (who were at odds for years after the initial release due to divergent opinions) are equally informative, while one could do without an introduction by Friedkin and the original ending. Finally, interviews regarding Blatty's ideas for the film and how they conflicted with Friedkin's representation perfectly round out this vast affair. With an impeccable high-definition presentation of both versions, the host of strong extras and enduring foundation of the movie proper, the Blu-Ray treatment of The Exorcist asserts how, as its slogan dictates, it truly is "The Scariest Film of All Time." (Warner)