As the title suggests, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist is a movie showing you how we got to the place we were back in 1973. As I hope you read in a previous post this is Paul Schrader’s version of the movie Exorcist: The Beginning. He had only $35.000 to finish the movie, and that includes the special effects, so do not expect to see some mind-blowing scenes. Actually, some of them look pretty amateurish and the makeup sometimes feels straight-up ridiculous. The main thing about this version is a somewhat changed story and how Paul managed to portray the evil in man. It uses a more traditional approach to tell a familiar story, unlike The Beginning that felt more modern. The focus is on the spiritual agony of Father Merrin and others faced with this ancient evil.
Considering all the problems, I also have to mention two elements that really surprised me. The cinematography was stylish and elegant, creating a very serious atmosphere of impending doom. You actually felt that something is so wicked and evil that it simply cannot be let out. And finally, we have set design that was a bit wobbly throughout the movie, but that fucking church from hell was epic. It reeked of evil. Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist also feature a couple of really graphic scenes. The one where they’re operating is particularly unnerving spliced with images of decomposing bodies. This is just a couple of scenes as for the most part we will be dealing with something else.
We find Father Merrin in Africa in 1947, where he’s recovering from trauma caused by Second World War. He discovers a buried church that will lead him to his first encounter with the daemon Pazuzu.
Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist draws a clear line between the events that happened to Merrin in World War II and the events unfolding before him now. That will, even more, strengthen his belief that man is by nature evil and that there are no demons and Satan. But as you are about to witness, he will find that there is something evil in the air. In the end, I have to mention Stellan Skarsgård. His riveting performance made this fucking movie. Just try to picture someone else in this role and you’ll see what I’m talking about. If I had to pick which one of these movies is better, I would have to choose the other one. Dominion feels a bit drawn out and without enough meat on the bones despite staying more true to the original.
I’m sure that The Exorcist fans will check out both movies. After all, if we watched all those satanawful sequels, we can sit through a couple of decent ones. If, however, you’re just a casual horror fan, it might be better to stick to The Beginning. At least in my opinion, what do you think about these two movies?
Director: Paul Schrader
Writers: William Wisher, Caleb Carr
Cast: Stellan Skarsgård, Gabriel Mann, Clara Bellar, Billy Crawford, Ralph Brown, Antonie Kamerling
Fun Facts: Stellan Skarsgård is playing a younger version of Max von Sydow’s character from The Exorcist (1973). Skarsgård is nearly a decade older than von Sydow was during the filming of the original movie.