Russell Crowe seems to be in his Exorcist era. First he was in The Pope’s Exorcist and now he stars in The Exorcism. Except this movie was shot and finished a couple of years ago. It sat on the shelf until its release on June 21st, 2024. The movie acts as a meta look into making a movie about facing demons, and with a broken family facing their own demons. For the most part, The Exorcism does a fine job of providing scares and letting Crowe chew up scenery. However, there are sections of the film that make you question just why the events of the film are happening. It also doesn’t help that outside of Crowe, many of the performances fall a bit flat.

The exceptionally interesting thing about The Exorcism is that the director, Joshua John Miller, is the son of Jason Miller, who starred in The Exorcist. That film has plenty of controversy and spooky stories about its filming. Miller should know better than anyone else how a movie like that would affect an actor. The plot of this movie follows Anthony Miller (Russell Crowe), an actor on the comeback trail after a tumultuous time in his life where he became an addict, his wife died, and he did some questionable things in his private life. His daughter Lee Miller (played by Ryan Simpkins) comes back home after being expelled from school. Miller gets the chance to change his fortunes with a new role in a remake of The Exorcist. The film never explicitly states that it’s a remake of that movie, but it’s heavily implied for rights reasons.

The characters around those two are where The Exorcism falters. There’s another actor, Joe (played by Sam Worthington), who is a massive fan of Miller. They’re joined by Blake Holloway (played by Chloe Bailey), who Lee is a bit enamored with. The director, Peter, who’s played a bit sleazy by Adam Goldberg, pushes Miller to a point and capitalizes on his grief. Finally, the Catholic consultant on the film Father Conor (played by David Hyde Pierce), ties the cast together, and provides some explanation for the goings-on in the film.

As the film goes on, Anthony becomes possessed by his past demons and the demon that the new film is about. That meta aspect is a cool wrinkle to the film, but it doesn’t lean into the filmmaking aspect as much as it could. How are the filming and issues affecting others on set? At a certain point, the film turns into Anthony’s possessed state, breaking the rules of reality and murdering people. It goes from what could have been a tense thriller to somewhat of a slasher. That shift in dynamic is jarring and really takes away from what this movie could have been.

The scenes where Crowe is wrestling with his personal demons or where he’s chewing up the scenery as a possessed monster are the highlights of The Exorcism. For those faults, The Exorcism ends up as a movie that had a lot of potential, but didn’t realize it. That doesn’t make it a bad film, though. It ends up as an entertaining look at how we all deal with our own personal demons, but doesn’t realize it’s own potential.

The Exorcism releases in theaters on June 21st, 2024.

For more Reviews, make sure to check back to That Hashtag Show.

Keep Reading: