Years before Father Lankester Merrin helped save Regan MacNeil's soul, he first encounters the demon Pazuzu in East Africa. This is the tale of Father Merrin's initial battle with Pazuzu and the rediscovery of his faith.

Director:

Renny Harlin

Writers:

William Peter Blatty (movie The Exorcist), William Wisher (story) | 2 more credits »
6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Stellan Skarsgård ... Father Merrin
Izabella Scorupco ... Sarah
James D'Arcy ... Father Francis
Remy Sweeney ... Joseph
Julian Wadham ... Major Granville
Andrew French Andrew French ... Chuma
Ralph Brown ... Sergeant Major
Ben Cross ... Semelier
David Bradley ... Father Gionetti
Alan Ford ... Jefferies
Antonie Kamerling ... Lieutenant Kessel
Eddie Osei Eddie Osei ... Emekwi
Israel Oyelumade ... Jomo (as Israel Aduramo)
Patrick O'Kane ... Bession
James Bellamy James Bellamy ... James
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Storyline

Archeologist Lankester Merrin is asked to go to East Africa to excavate a church that has been found completely buried in sand. Merrin is also an ordained Roman Catholic priest who, still haunted by what he was forced to do during World War II in his native Holland, eschews any religion or belief. He's fascinated by what he finds and that it dates hundred of years before Christianity was introduced to the area. Accompanied by a young priest, Father Francis, to keep an eye on the religious elements of what they find, Merrin makes his way to the camp. There he meets a young doctor, Sarah and soon realizes there is an air of gloom that envelops the entire site. Workmen go mad and a young boy is mauled by a pack of hyenas while completely ignoring his younger brother Joseph. Inside the church itself they find signs of desecration. Merrin is forced to re-examine his lack of faith and come face to face with the devil. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A new chapter of evil See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and gore, disturbing images and rituals, and for language including some sexual dialogue | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Roughly 10 percent of Paul Schrader's scenes made it into the final film, including two minutes of the Holland village massacre. Schrader's version of the sequence is at about 20 minutes long. See more »

Goofs

In the final shot of the movie, as the priest is walking toward the Vatican, his shadow on the cobblestone falls at a different angle from those on the buildings. According to the background, the sunlight is obviously coming from behind us, but the priest's shadow goes off to the right. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Father Merrin: It's Father Merrin.
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Connections

Follows Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Florida Special
Composed by Dick Kolmar
Provided by Killer Tracks
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User Reviews

 
Before Regan and Merrin Met
5 September 2005 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

Director Renny Harlin creates an intriguing, interesting prequel to the events shown in The Exorcist and its two sequels. This film follows Father Merrin to East Africa, initially having given up his priesthood, where his expertise has been called upon to explain some ancient temple that had been unearthed from the sand and dirt at a major archaeological dig site. The temple is in pristine shape and has some major anti-Church motifs abounding. Merrin soon realizes a demon exists and...well, you get the general picture. This film worked for me for a number of reasons: it is story driven as well as effects driven, it has solid acting, great location shots, and a strangely, highly flawed script that does create interest. The last half of the film begins to bog down under the weight of some of the makeup and special effects, but never to the point of overtaking the film and its atmosphere. And atmosphere is one thing this film has plenty of. I especially liked the way the character of Father Merrin was treated. He is a flawed man with an interesting past that the film delves into through flashbacks. These flashback scenes are effectively done and help make Merrin all the more real. The acting of Stellan Skarsgard in the role is the film's principal strength along with some innovative camera-work. Sure, much of the script is hokey hooey and will not make terribly much sense - I'm still not sure what happened in the end, but the film works nonetheless for the aforementioned reasons. I was pleasantly surprised despite some pre-conceived ideas going into the film.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 August 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Exorcist IV See more »

Filming Locations:

Casablanca, Morocco See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,054,001, 22 August 2004

Gross USA:

$41,821,986

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$78,110,021
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Unrated Version)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
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