Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist
Last year, the folks at Morgan Creek and Warner Bros., unhappy with director Paul Schrader’s version of Exorcist: The Beginning, fired him and hired Renny Harlin to re-shoot much of the film with a new script and several new actors; the result lost $3 million. So, now they’ve figured, “What the hell? Might as well release Schrader’s version and pick up a little change if we can.” It’s an interesting contrast. This version is a bit better, with a clearer story that grapples with genuine issues of faith and redemption. But it’s no rediscovered masterpiece; like Harlin’s film, there are few scares, and this version is undercut by some chintzy special effects; a few weak supporting performances (Gabriel Mann as a young priest and Julian Wadham as a British officer, to name two); and a drawn-out, talky climax. J.L.