Exorcist : The Beginning title

AKA: Exorcist 4 : The Beginning, Exorcist : Dominion

Tag Line : Go Back to Where the Horror Began

Exorcist : The BeginningSome 14 years after "Exorcist 3" and over 30 years since the original, comes the fourth in the series of Exorcist films, which attempts to take a look at the young Father Merrin and how he first got embroiled in fighting off demonic possessions.

Set sometime in the late 1940's, former priest and archaeological expert Lankester Merrin (hey, I didn't know his first name was Lankester?), played here by Stellan Skarsgard, is asked to attend an excavation in Eastern Africa, where the remains of a church have been found buried underneath the sands.

But as the church is slowly unearthed, it becomes apparent that it is not what it appears to be and its discovery has unleashed something evil. Shortly afterwards, the head archaeologists develop bad skin complexions and go mad, the local natives and the British army garrison start attacking each other and themselves and badly animated CGI Hyenas go on the rampage, tearing children to pieces.

Despite losing his faith a number of years ago during the war, Merrin comes to realise that something evil is most definitely at work and that only by rediscovering his faith can he hope to stop the ensuing madness. Directed by Renny Harlin, who took over the film after original director Paul Shrader got fired by the studios, this isn't the best sequel but isn't the worst either (that dubious honour goes to part 2). Perhaps the biggest let down are the badly done CGI effects.

Worth a watch, Exorcist fans will probably want to check this out. You should also check out Paul Shrader's original version of the film, which is available separately under the title "Dominion".

Overall Marks : 5/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Alternate tag lines "A New Chapter of Evil", "God is Not Here".

  • The film was originally entitled "Exorcist : Dominion" and was directed by Paul Shrader. Unfortunately the studios disliked the finished version, which was more of psychological thriller, so much that they fired him and hired Renny Harlin to re-write and re-shoot several key scenes. The new version dropped 2 of the original characters and included more blood, gore and scares. However, many of the original actors were unable to return due to other work commitments and so almost the entire film had to be re-shot from scratch with new actors.

  • Set in Kenya, the movie was actually filmed in Morocco.

  • John Frankenheimer was originally hired to direct, prior to Paul Shrader's involvement, but due to pre-production problems he abandoned the project.

  • The films budget was originally $30,000,000, but this went up to $50,000,000 when the film had to be re-shot.

  • Liam Neeson was originally cast as Father Merrin, however owing to the pre-production problems which resulted in the shooting schedule being put back, he had to pull out due to other work commitments.

  • Linda Blair was reportedly less than happy about the adverts for the film, as she had not been consulted about the use of her images and dialogue from the original Exorcist.

  • The studios had intended to release Paul Shrader's original version as an extra on the DVD of Renny Harlin's theatrical version. However as the film bombed at the box office, they allowed Shrader to release his version on a limited scale in certain European countries and at various film festivals. The film was also given a separate DVD release under the title "Dominion".

Extra Info.

Cast & Crew.

Buy Online.

Buy the UK DVD(1) (Theatrical version).

Buy the UK DVD(2) (Original version).

Buy the UK DVD box-set (5 discs).

Buy the US DVD(1) (Theatrical version).

Buy the US DVD(2) (Original version).

Buy the US DVD box-set (5 discs).

Notes on affiliate sites.


Other films in the series.


All Time Classics.

Reviews A-Z.

Reviews index. Home. Menu.