The Exorcism – The Devil Lies in the Meta

MOVIE REVIEW – Russell Crowe, the fallen former superstar who has already played an exorcist priest in a horror film, now portrays another washed-up former star who again takes on the role of an exorcist priest in a horror film within another horror film. Meta upon meta, and no, this is not a parody. But is it worth watching, and does the film exorcise the demons of boredom?


Like many former A-listers, Crowe has found his niche in lower-budget films. Recently, he’s been seen in the road rage thriller Unhinged, the war drama Land of Bad, the crime thriller Sleeping Dogs, and the surprisingly successful The Pope’s Exorcist. The success of the latter, where he played an exorcist priest, sparked the making of another exorcism movie – The Exorcism. Originally filmed in 2019, this project loosely draws from director Joshua John Miller’s experiences, whose father, Jason Miller, played Father Karras in The Exorcist.

Initially known as The Georgetown Project, the film faced mixed reactions from Miramax. Planned reshoots were delayed due to COVID-19, and the film was shelved until the success of The Pope’s Exorcist revived interest. Miramax eventually sold the film to Vertical, opting for a summer theatrical release amid a strike-affected schedule.



Meta-horror and religious trauma


The final product is a raw, poorly edited film riddled with logical flaws and weak storytelling. Despite an intriguing initial concept, it soon falls into familiar horror clichés. The opening scene features a fatal rehearsal, paving the way for Tony (Crowe) to return to the spotlight after alcoholism derailed his career. Tony plays a priest who helps a mother save her daughter from the devil while confronting his own past traumas.

The early stages of The Exorcism are engaging as Tony battles his inner demons, but writers Joshua John Miller and MA Fortin fumble the transition from personal drama to a lackluster horror film. We don’t get enough time to explore Tony’s escalating inner panic; instead, he quickly becomes just a tool for jump scares. Crowe’s commitment is commendable, even in subpar films, but his character soon becomes laughably absurd. His daughter, Lee (Ryan Simpkins), gets more screen time, but her scenes, particularly those involving a romantic subplot with Chloe Bailey, are poorly constructed.



The devil’s in the details… or not…


As the film reaches its climax, the production chaos becomes evident. The editing room struggles to make sense of the mess, leaving viewers with questions like, “How did we get here?”, “Why isn’t he dead?”, and “What just happened?”. What should have been a tense, focused story about a man’s downfall becomes a confusing and distant experience. The ending, filled with noise and chaos, could have been taken from any old exorcism film. Miller’s initial attempt to address addiction and abuse horror is lost in a poorly executed finale filled with screaming and stabbing.

Perhaps, at some point in this torturous journey, there was a version of The Exorcism that warranted the Herculean effort it took to make it. But what ultimately reached us is just another cursed oddity, a film less interesting than its Wikipedia page.

– Gergely Herpai “BadSector”-

The Exorcism

Direction - 3.4
Actors - 3.6
Story - 2.5
Visuals/Horror/Tension - 2.8
Ambience - 3.5



The Exorcism is yet another attempt by Russell Crowe in the exorcism horror genre. It starts with an interesting concept but gets lost in clichés and a muddled narrative. The film has a few good moments but ultimately fails to redeem itself, remaining a forgettable entry in the world of horror films."

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines - including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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