Movie Review: The Exorcism Starring Russell Crowe

The Exorcism movie

June 21, 2024

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email:

Academy Award Winner Russell Crowe stars in The Exorcism, directed by Joshua John Miller. Miller co-wrote the script with M.A. Fortin. Let’s talk about it.

Warning: Mild Spoilers Ahead

The Exorcism follows an actor (Crowe) struggling in his life and career. Still fighting addiction and the shame of the way he treated his daughter, he thinks a new role will get him back on track. But he couldn’t be more wrong. After getting the role of a priest in an exorcism movie, things quickly escalate as his daughter, Lee (Ryan Simpkins), watches on in horror as her father begins to show worrying signs.

The film marks Crowe’s second role as a priest in an exorcism movie this year, with the first being The Pope’s Exorcist. Between the two, his performance in The Exorcism is better. It feels more realistic and intense like he really put more heart into it.  Crowe makes his fight with his demons, both personal and supernatural, feel realistic, and the character feels human, not just a one-dimensional person on the screen.

The Exorcism is about loss, love, and struggle. During a recent Q&A, John Miller and co-writer MA Fortin, who are also behind The Final Girls and the hit series “Queen of the South,” told me that the film is very personal. And I saw and felt it. It wasn’t just a paycheck. You can tell they were working through something.

The movie is also clearly a love letter to The Exorcist. You can see in multiple scenes that an homage is being paid. There is a reason for that: the movie has a significant connection to the classic. Writer-director Joshua Jason Miller is the son of the legendary actor Jason Miller, who portrayed the iconic role of Father Damien Karras in the 1973 movie. It appears Miller (Jason) had some demons in his own life. The director used the movie to help explore and come to terms with that.

The emotional damage caused by a loved one’s demons and watching them change into something unrecognizable is something I can relate to. I had someone close to me suffer from addiction, similar to Crowe’s character. It’s hard to watch when you see someone lose themselves and know there’s nothing you can do to stop their descent. I’ve felt that fallout and been in the path of that destruction. So, I can identify with the character of Lee, probably a little too much. That’s probably one reason the movie hit me so hard. It brought all of that shit flooding back.

The combination of effects and cinematography gives it a dark, gritty feel. The shots and angles are fantastic. Light, color, and darkness help manipulate the way you feel.

There is a ton of action and intrigue. You want, need, to know how it ends for the family. But don’t worry, there’s no shortage of spooky shit to keep you on your toes while the story tugs at your heart.

Ready for my verdict?

The Exorcism capitalizes on nostalgia and introduces a fresh tale that people will identify with, all while leaving you on the edge of your seat. The filmmakers were invested in creating a film that, while being entertaining, has a deeper meaning, and it shows. To me, that always adds a lot to a movie’s value. So, yes, you should head to the theater and watch The Exorcism on June 20. We’ll let you know when a home release is announced.


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