I’ve had a copy of this film sitting in a boxset entitled The Exorcist Complete Anthology for many years now, and never felt especially compelled to give it a watch before now. Famously this is the version of Morgan Creek’s prequel to William Friedkin’s classic that was shelved without release, only for Renny Harlin to be hired and sent out to film a more conventional horror film using the same cast and basic script. The boxset includes that version too, but I figured this was the one to watch first. Movie fans have cited this as the better film, which frankly doesn’t bode well for the Harlin version. Schrader has some decent ideas here, but never seems wholly committed to exploring any of the plot threads he introduces. Stellan Skarsgard is fine as young Fr. Merrin, but struggles to satisfactorily convey his inner torment. Supporting characters are not developed fully, while the central exorcism takes far too long to emerge, before being dealt with far too quickly. The result is a curiosity, but hardly a necessary or fruitful addition to the series.