[box cover]

Exorcist III

Although John Boorman directed a disastrous 1978 film bearing the title Exorcist II: The Heretic, there is only one genuine sequel to the original horror masterpiece. Exorcist novelist and screenwriter William Peter Blatty ignored Boorman's film completely when he followed up his tale of demonic possession with the 1983 novel Legion — in fact, the only reference to Boorman's awful sequel in Legion's screen adaptation is the misleading title. For all intents and purposes, consider this the second film in the series — although great fans of the original may rightly be surprised, confused, and a little disappointed in the direction Blatty takes his famous story. Exorcist III starts out like a traditional police mystery, with George C. Scott as philosophical Det. Kinderman, who notices connections in a recent series of brutal murders to a couple of his earlier cases — including the possession of young Regan MacNeil some 15 years earlier. Scott is a natural as Kinderman, but this quirky character struggles to adapt to the screen. Blatty, directing this time as well, lacks the natural style of predecessor William Friedkin, and his film, although well-mounted, suffers from artificiality. In an age when so many sequels try vainly to repeat the successes of its forebears, it's refreshing to see a storyteller attempt to draw connections while heading in different directions, but Blatty's film falls just short of making the jump successfully. Interesting, but not satisfying. Includes brief appearances by Samuel L. Jackson and Patrick Ewing. Presented in a less-than-crisp anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1) and Dolby Digital 5.1. Trailer, snap-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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