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Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (R)

Current Release Date: May 20th (Loews E-Walk, Loews 11th/3rd,Loews 84th St)
The Cast: Stellan Skarsgård, Gabriel Mann, Clara Bellar, Billy Crawford

BASIC PREMISE: Father Merrin uncovers a demon for the very first time in his visit to Africa.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The special effects in this movie are very good. There are a lot of visually-effective scenes that send chills down your spine. The score and soundtrack also help to startle and scare. There are a few very graphically violent scenes and one disgusting scene with maggots that are not meant for those with a weak stomach. Stellan Skarsgård is a fine actor who does show levels of depth and makes a very believable priest. The final third of the film is especially intense--full of stunning visuals and action sequences. There is a nightmare sequence that is very well-shot and frightening.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: There is an interesting, thought-provoking debate between two contrasting view points: whether the deaths that take place are supernatural and religious or simply natural. Father Merrin's gradual change to somebody who strongly believes in religion is very well done--especially thanks to Skarsgård's acting. His emotional torment by the presence of the demon is very moving. However, besides Father Merrin, there aren't any characters that are developed enough to care about--such as the nurse or even the man infested by the demon. Fortunately, there aren't any unintentionally funny dramatic scenes like there were in Exorcist: The Beginning.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A few underdeveloped characters and a very few surprises within the plot.


THE BOTTOM LINE: A very entertaining, well-acted, occasionally thought-provoking prequel that is far superior in every way to Exorcist: The Beginning.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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