Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist (2005) – Film

“Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist”

Day 5 of the 2023 31-Days of Horror

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This prequel to The Exorcist, set in 1949, recounts Father Merrin’s first encounter with Pazuzu in Kenya, largely explaining the entire opening scene of that original movie. At a period in his life when Fr. Merrin has left the church and the priesthood and simply wants to be an archeologist, he is hired to excavate a mysterious find.

First time watch, again. I’d not even bothered to see a trailer for it.  So, yeah. It’s the same movie as Exorcist: The beginning, with a few cast changes, a bit rearranged, less action-y, less gory. This version is directed by Paul Schrader and has more of a drama/thriller feel to it. At least until the climax, then it suddenly becomes this bizarre sequence with aurora lights and freaky dreamy flashback.

As with all the Exorcist movies, this one, too, opens with a scene featuring the Exorcist/Priest. This time, however, it’s the scene that precipitates Father Merrin’s (Stellan Skarsgard) taking a sabbatical from the priesthood. From there, the story is essentially the same, just a few differences in the journey, and a more positive ending, despite the surreal side trip, culminating in a version of the stereotypical cowboy ending, where Merrin walks off into the blowing sand (rather than the sunset). I did think that the treatment they gave the tribespeople was a bit more respectful than was in the previous film. And I’m so glad for the absence of the inappropriate sexualized relationship between Merrin and the doctor.

I gave this one 2 1/2 glasses of deep red wine, as well. I enjoyed both this and the previous one equally, I thought each were equally preposterous.


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