This is the only movie in the Exorcist franchise that I had not yet seen. The reputation around it is so toxic (it is considered by many sources to be amongst the top five worst movies of all time) that I never felt it was worthy of the two hours it would take me to watch the thing. However I picked up the Exorcist set and I got this stupid marathon thing going right now so I figured if I was ever going to watch Exorcist II it would be now. Plus I had read a couple reviews saying it was a great “so bad it’s good” movie and that it is completely hilarious. Disagree! Disagree completely!
Exorcist II takes place a few years after the events of the first movie. Regan is now grown up (I believe she is supposed to be 16-years-old here) and is seeing a psychiatrist who possesses this insane machine that can link people’s brains together and have them share the same thoughts or something? And nobody is impressed by this device at all! Everyone just accepts that “yeah of course this is technology that is totally real and not completely insane at all”. Also a priest is looking into the death of Father Merrin from the first movie which leads him to Africa after the demon Pazuzu (who possessed Regan in the first movie) flies him around as a locust in a dream sequence and there he meets James Earl Jones who was also once possessed by the demon and is now either a witch doctor or an esteemed scientist and then a woman sets herself on fire and then some exorcising happens and I don’t know there’s a bunch of other stuff too. It sounds like the makings of an exciting movie are perhaps there but oh man is this movie ever boring.
I do not agree at all that this movie is hilarious in its badness. It’s just bad in its badness. Yes the crazy synchronizing brain machine is pretty funny at first but outside of that the whole affair is just a slog. I will get the two positive points out of the way right now – the acting is solid and the score is quite good. There. I said something nice. This is where that stops.
Though I honestly don’t have a whole lot more to say about this one. The primary sin it commits is being terribly boring. There was a point, it was maybe about halfway through the movie when the priest has made the trip to Africa, where I honestly debated giving up and firing up a different movie for today’s review but I wanted to see it through to the end, if only to ensure I had witnessed the entire Exorcist anthology from beginning to end. I’m having trouble expanding on why it’s boring as that kind of explains itself. The characters are dull, they are never doing anything interesting, the plot is both confusing and uninvolving and nothing even remotely close to horror happens until the very final part of the movie. It’s everything you don’t want in an Exorcist movie.
You know what, as short as this review is, I’m calling it. I have nothing more to say. Exorcist II: The Heretic is as bad as you’ve heard. I tried to go into it with an open mind and of course had crazy, CRAZY, low expectations for it but it didn’t matter at all. I know people say you can’t judge a movie for what it isn’t (ie: like the original Exorcist) but you should always judge it for what it is. Ok well here is what the Exorcist II is; it’s boring, not scary in the slightest and completely ridiculous without actually being any fun to watch. I am officially joining the chorus of the rest of the internet and saying do not watch this movie.