This is genuinely creepy in parts and works better as a companion to Blatty’s own The Ninth Configuration rather than a second sequel to The Exorcist, but it’s not a bad one of those either. George C. Scott delivers an angry, blustering performance – the kind the latter half of his career was defined by it seems – in a film dominated by grizzled or shaggy old men. It makes you realise this type of studio-funded horror flick with major franchise branding is pretty much dead now. Could you imagine a Purge or Conjuring sequel primarily headlined by actors over 50? Hell no. The Exorcist always lent itself to more world-worn faces though – mid to late-life crisis of faith and all that – but I do wish this kind of casting made a return to genre filmmaking.
Elsewhere you’ve got a loopy Brad Dourif performance, which is always worth a punt and a load of theatrical lighting and camerawork. Blatty didn’t make that many movies but he was a pretty accomplished stylist, much more than a novelist turned filmmaker reputation would suggest. The infamous hospital corridor sequence here is so expertly staged that it has become the film’s biggest selling point for sequel cynics. Wether watching out of context on youtube or within the film itself, that jump scare is seriously major.
Note: I watched the original version and not the re-assembled Legion cut. Even in apparently compromised form this works. I look forward to checking out Blatty’s preferred cut upon the inevitable rewatch.
Watched on blu-ray.