Dominion: A Prequel to the Exorcist

Rated R 2005

This is the film a lapsed Calvinist like director Paul Schrader was meant to make. What better project can there be for a man who was taught that theaters are dens of iniquity than a film that takes place in an African temple built to capture a demon? If only the rest of the movie made as much sense -- and, for that matter, if only there were an explicable reason for the release of a movie once said to be so awful, it was reshot by a new director with a new screenplay and new cast and released last year as the awful Exorcist: The Beginning. The origin story of The Exorcist's Father Merrin (played here by Stellan Skarsgård) is hamstrung not only by a dopey plot, but also by some truly frightening acting and the worst special effects this side of 1975. It's chatty when it wants to pretend it's deep and spiritual, messy when it's striving for chaotic and thrilling, and boring when it has no other options left.

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