Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 22
  2. Negative: 11 out of 22
  1. Here's a popcorn movie with soul, welcoming the masses to consider how much can change in popular culture over 30 years, as the horrific becomes the familiar.
  2. The movie goes too far on too little motivation - and the middle section, with its maggoty villains, roiling skies and native revolts, seems almost barmy. Yet Exorcist: Beginning does score a small victory. It's not as bad as you'd think.
  3. Nothing fails like bad horror. But it's not despicable. It is merely boring.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Hartlaub
    While the fourth "Exorcist" movie may have unmitigated disaster written all over it, the finished product is somehow sort-of-kind-of not all that bad.
  5. Reviewed by: Kevin Crust
    A perfectly mediocre horror film. There is some hoot-inducing dialogue and cheesy effects, but the film's workmanlike narrative marches gamely forward, managing a handful of respectable scares along the way.
  6. The new movie is a dusty piñata stuffed with omens and not much more.
  7. Reviewed by: Pete Vonder Haar
    A horror movie that starts off decently but quickly falls victim to cliché. It is, ultimately, a disappointing genre entry, and one that falls far short of the original’s greatness.
  8. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    It isn’t quite hell, but clambering to the end of this dusty remnant of an idea is certainly purgatory.
  9. 40
    The “surprise” ending, when it comes, is more of a hoot than a holler.
  10. The gooseberry Harlin came up with will win no proselytizers, but it does have a pleasant matinee modesty, a cool sepia-period look, and an interesting flashback relationship with Nazis.
  11. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    Earns points simply for not being bad enough to leave a stain on the screen. Unfortunately, this annoyingly disjointed shocker stumbles badly after promising early scenes, and quickly devolves into a chaotic blur of underdeveloped characters, illogical transitions and standard-issue scary-movie tropes.
  12. The devil is back in Exorcist: The Beginning, and he is more disgusting than ever. Not more scary, just really yucky, in a kind of maggots-on-a-pizza-slice way.
  13. Congratulations, Renny Harlin. You've successfully exorcised all the horror out of The Exorcist.
  14. The scariest thing about this film is how desperate the makers are to earn a scream.
  15. 30
    There's no pea soup, but sketchy effects, cheap jolts, swirling cameras, and buckets of blood surround Exorcist: The Beginning with the potent aroma of cheese.
  16. The risible dialogue, the bulging eyeballs, the heaving bosoms, the digitally rendered hyenas and squirming maggots, the movie fails to achieve the status of the instant camp classic. That's partly because the vibe of the film is too torpid.
  17. 25
    The acting is serviceable at best, the direction unfocused - and the special effects and makeup cheesy-looking. This is surely the most dreary-looking film ever shot by the great Vittorio Storaro ("Apocalypse Now").
  18. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    It’s terrible enough to torture the damned.
  19. 20
    Pokey, blood-spattered, cheap-scare-larded prequel.
  20. 20
    The serious Catholic themes that made the original film genuinely disturbing have been flattened out into a cartoonish backstory.
  21. 12
    This prequel has something to appall everybody.
  22. 11
    Sloppy, confusing, and dull as a dented crucifix.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 49 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 30
  2. Negative: 12 out of 30
  1. Aug 19, 2011
    I watched this today with my boyfriend and during the movie I predicted what would happen, and I was right every time. It was just too predictable and like other movies. Don't really see exactly how this is the beginning, and the movie stunk too much to watch it again to understand. :/ Plus, the DVD features were extra boring. Full Review »
  2. AlecB.
    Jun 25, 2007
    i actually really enjoyed this movie a lot.. . but it didn't really show how it all began now. Basically it was just a body count movie with tons of violence and gore and scary images. There wasn't even a exorcism in the movie except that cheap one at the end. Full Review »
  3. MarcD.
    Oct 27, 2006
    Lacks focus and any true sense of pace. It steers clear of the psychological themes and horror from the original, instead hoping to evoke some reactions by throwing as much ugly effects at us as possible. Unfortunately, fear doesn't work that way. Full Review »