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Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)

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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.


Renny Harlin


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



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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


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


A Renny Harlin movie. The director of Cliffhanger, Deep Blue Sea and Die Hard 2 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 »






Release Date:

20 August 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Exorcist IV See more »

Filming Locations:

Casablanca, Morocco See more »


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,054,001, 22 August 2004, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (Unrated Version)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Liam Neeson was initially cast as Father Merrin. See more »


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 »


Father Francis: This is the spot where Lucifer fell.
See more »


Referenced in E! True Hollywood Story: Curse of the Exorcist (2004) See more »


Sharetny Oyounha
Provided by Opus 1 Music Library
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Average but entertaining follow-up to ¨The exorcist¨ with breathtaking sets and eerie scenes
10 November 2004 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

The movie centers about Priest Merrin (Stellan Skargard) who's assigned by Vatican to solve the enigma upon a buried church and built on Turkana (Kenya) . He's helped for other priest (James Dárcy) and a nurse (Isabella Scorupco). They will have to take on Lucifer and evil forces . The fight will be terrible . The final showdown between the starring Father and the devil is terrific and spooky .

This is a horrifying and startling story about possession with usual poltergeist phenomenon caused by the supernatural demon . From start movie to finish the screams , chilling frames and the scary scenes are unstoppable . This prequel blends terror , suspense , horror , shocks , strong emotions and lots of gore . The picture has violent shots , as a child has been eaten by African dogs or another one making himself savage acts , for that reason the film is rated ¨R¨ , because of the violence and crude murders are extreme and isn't apt for boys , nor squeamish . The original Exorcist (by William Friedkin) film spread a wave of demonic possessions movies that continues unbated today , such as : ¨The changeling¨ , ¨Amytiville¨ series , ¨Darkness¨ ; besides the sequels as ¨Exorcist II¨ (by John Boorman) , ¨Exorcist III¨ (by William Peter Blatty) and prequels ¨Dominion¨ and ¨The beginning¨ . This rare film not for squeamish and is inferior to ¨Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist¨ by Paul Schrader , being shot at the same time , remaining Schrader's version for the market video . Nice acting by Stellan Skarsgård , he 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 . Special effects , colorful cinematography , creepy music and intelligence by director Renny Harlin , all combined to make it an acceptable film .

The motion picture achieved success in the box office but inferior to the first Exorcist , but more than Exorcist II (John Boorman) and Exorcist III (William Peter Blatty) which obtained flops . Trevor Ravin music and Vittorio Storaro cinematography are excellent . Rennie Harlin direction is middling ; however , the flick will appeal to terror and Exorcist series fans . Paul Schrader was originally hired as director of The Exorcist : The beginning (2004) , but Morgan Creek ultimately rejected his "psychological thriller" approach, saying it was "commercially unmarketable" . The decision was made to extensively rewrite and re-shoot the script, re-cast several roles , add new roles and give the director's chair to Renny Harlin . Schrader's version was originally supposed to be released direct to video, as a bonus feature on the DVD release of Harlin's version . Although is a prequel of prior movie , it's one the highest earning horror picture of the last years . Rating: 5.5 /10 . Passable .

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