Often regarded as the scariest movie ever, The Exorcist works on so many levels. Instead of relying on cheap jump scares, The Exorcist uses realism to draw the film’s true horror from. I wouldn’t say this is the scariest movie I’ve ever seen, but there are truly terrifying moments that just rely on what the characters are naturally going through in the movie.
Linda Blair (Regan) does a fantastic job, and she even got an Oscar nomination out of this movie. She’s totally natural and doesn’t come off as trying too hard. I just love how they introduce her being possessed, which uses a more subtle approach. Instead of something happening to her to set that up, she just starts not feeling well one day.
I’m also surprised how the humor works in The Exorcist. The demon possessing Regan says some funny stuff. That humor, however, doesn’t detract from the scariness and just complements the movie with making it more unique.
As great as The Exorcist is, it’s not without its faults. The beginning, with Father Merrin, should’ve been edited into a different part of the movie. The movie starting right with Regan and her family would’ve added to the creepiness of how Regan suddenly starts to get possessed. How the Merrin plot isn’t brought up again till towards the finale sorta drags the movie out, and we get a setup that we don’t really need to know at that point.
The theme is used very effectively, coming in at perfect moments. Some movies have the problem of overusing their themes, as well as, unfortunately, having the theme be so well known and be tiring if you’re hearing it for the millionth time. Fortunately, neither of these problems happen with the Exorcist. The theme has quite the opposite effect and carries so much weight. How well known the theme is also helps the movie as well.