As fans prepare for the sixth installment of the supernatural horror franchise, The Exorcist, to hit theaters, Warners Bros has recently released a 4K 50th Anniversary Edition.
Arriving in theaters the day after Christmas in 1973 and directed by the late great William Friedkin, The screenplay for The Exorcist was written by William Peter Blatty, who adapted his novel of the same name. Taking place in Georgetown, The plot revolves around the demonic possession of a young girl named Regan (Linda Blair). Her mother, Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn), is an actress who tries to save her daughter by performing an exorcism. The exorcism is conducted by two Catholic priests, Father Lankester Merrin (Max von Sydow) and Father Karras (Jason Miller).
The first time I watched The Exorcist was in the summer of 1997. I rented Scream, and the video store attendant recommended The Exorcist for a double feature. I don't want to go into too much detail about the movie itself, as if you are reading this review, you have seen the film, and you either like it or you don't. However, it lives up to its hype. Instead, I'd like to talk about the latest home edition of the film.
The studio has just released The Exorcist on Ultra HD Blu-ray, offering a fantastic viewing experience for film fans. This combo pack includes two discs containing the movie in stunning 4K Dolby Vision with Dolby Atmos audio. Additionally, customers will receive a Digital Copy code to enjoy the theatrical version at their convenience. The bonus features from previous releases are also included for fans to delve deeper into the world of The Exorcist.
This special edition release has a stylish black eco-vortex case and a cardboard slipcover that adds elegance. When you start watching, you'll see an atmospheric screen and user-friendly menu options that enhance your viewing experience. Despite being an older film, the transfer is sharp, thanks to the new restoration and remaster of the original 35mm camera negatives, which provide an incredible viewing experience.
The Exorcist's native 4K transfer is truly impressive, as it brings every detail to life with stunning clarity. From the gripping opening sequences in Iraq to the intense psychological and medical tests, the imagery is incredibly sharp. Even the most minor details, such as the wood grain of the house and background objects, are captured with exceptional clarity, making the costumes beautifully rendered with distinct fabric and stitching. The meticulous restoration of this film truly allows viewers to appreciate every aspect of it. The sound is also good, so turn up your speakers.
The biggest flaw of the 4K is the almost bare-bones special features. Considering the iconic history of the film, I'm surprised the only features are a brief intro by the director and three audio commentaries. While Freidkin's analysis is insightful, I would've loved to see the features from the previous edition remastered along with a new analysis from David Gordon Green, who is directing the latest film.
When compared to contemporary horror films, William Friedkin's The Exorcist may seem tame and less appealing to younger viewers. Additionally, the limited bonus features may dissuade some fans from upgrading. However, true movie aficionados will value the notable improvements in both audio and visual quality when compared to previous releases.
Movie Grade : A
4k Edition Garde : B-
The Exorcist 4k is available for purchase on-line and in retail stores.