By Cindy Held/Studio editor

If you like your scary movies described as “gross” then “Exorcist: The Beginning” is the movie for you. Set in 1949, “Exorcist: The Beginning” acts as a prequel to the 1973 hit “The Exorcist” by following father Merrin, the priest who performed the actual exorcism of Regan in the first movie, through his first encounter with the devil.

After witnessing horrible murders of innocent people at the hands of Nazi’s in World War II, Father Merrin has lost his faith in God. Also being an archaeologist, Merrin decides to take the task of investigating a church that has been found buried in Africa and known as a source of a great evil.

The church is believed to be the spot where Lucifer fell from heaven and the unexplainable deaths and mental breakdowns seem to confirm the beliefs.

Among all the evil that seems to spread throughout the camp working to dig up the church, is a boy, Joseph, believed to be possessed by the devil, flesh eating hyenas and fear that makes all the camp workers refuse to enter the church.

The story of Father Merrin’s history with Satan, who resurfaces later in his life in “The Exorcist” is intriguing and “The Beginning” does a good job explaining certain evil and good relics that are also present in the first movie.

However, the images of death and gore at the influence of the devil is more likely to upset your stomach than your nerves.

Father Merrin also meets, Sarah, the doctor at the camp and it seems that a romance will happen between the two but an unexpected twist keeps them apart and restores his faith.

As far as being suspenseful, the movie lacks that “on the edge of your seat” fright, and tries to make up with shock value.

The movie is directed by Renny Harlin, and stars Stellan Skarsgard as Father Merrin, Izabella Scorupco as Sarah and Remy Sweeny as Joseph.

I give this movie 2 1/2 out of 5 palettes.

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