The Exorcism (2024)

It seems that Russel Crowe is leaning into the whole satanic menace subgenre of horror films of late.  Last year, the actor was hamming it up with a fake italian accent in the ridiculous (but fun!!!) The Pope’s Exorcism and now, while it’s much more of a sober affair (until it isn’t), he stars in The Exorcism as a troubled actor on the set of a horror movie with an equally troubled production.

Directed by Joshua John Miller, who co-wrote the film with M.A. Fortin, and so-starring Adam Goldberg as a director with all the wrong advice as he’s only after a certain type of performance from his aging actor, The Exorcism presents Crowe to the audience in the role of a very troubled actor who may or may not be suffering from something else altogether . . . because, thanks to a pretty tight opening sequence, it seems this production of a very familiar movie is already a cursed affair.

"the merging of the metaphysical and the matinee just doesn’t work beyond Crowe’s performance"

Anthony Miller (Crowe), an older actor who can only blame himself for where he is now in his epically stalled career, is trying to make a comeback in this horror film where he plays Father Arlington, a soon-to-be exorcist.  Except the tyrannical filmmaker, Peter (Goldberg) is never happy with Miller’s takes.  His patience is non-existent as Miller struggles with getting the character right.  It’s a bit of a stretch for the actor and he struggles with memorizing some of the lines but, at one time, Miller had it all.  That was before age and addiction took root and isolated him from the world as he knew it, pushing him to leave his wife in the middle of her illness and abandon his daughter.

Now, it seems regret and remorse are what keeps him company these days - besides the script - as he attempts to restart his acting career and mend his damaged relationship with his estranged daughter, Lee (Ryan Simpkins), who simply doesn’t know what to do with or for the man she once knew as her father. The Exorcism (2024)

Standing on the set of The Georgetown Project (a sly reference to The Exorcist), Miller, thanks to a solid performance from Crowe, looks all sorts of out of place.  He’s lost in a sea of doubt and vulnerability and it is here where Crowe’s performance salvages the more unbelievable bits of the movie - which features the usual arrangement of jump scares - as he leans into the rich arch of his own career, lampooning the whole bloated arch of it as metaphorical demons become solid ones and no one on the set - all suspecting him of more drug use - knows what to do or how to help him.

This new possession isn’t what everyone assumes it is, though.  While serious to a fault, Crowe knows the material and rages at all the right moments - especially when he gets to bust through a mirror to kill the actor who replaces him in the movie - to salvage The Exorcism’s efforts to handle the balance of good and evil.

Featuring good (but wasted) performances from David Hyde Pierce, Chloe Bailey, and Sam Worthington, The Exorcism might be based upon one horror film’s eternal legacy but the merging of the metaphysical and the matinee just doesn’t work beyond Crowe’s performance.

3/5 stars

Film Details

The Exorcism

MPAA Rating: R.
95 mins
: Joshua John Miller
M.A. Fortin; Joshua John Miller
Russell Crowe; Ryan Simpkins; Sam Worthington

Memorable Movie Quote:
Theatrical Distributor:
Vertical Entertainmentt
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 21, 2024
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: A troubled actor begins to exhibit a disruptive behavior while shooting a horror film. His estranged daughter wonders if he's slipping back into his past addictions or if there's something more sinister at play.


The Exorcism