I'm naturally opinionated but staggeringly incompetent at writing reviews. I would like to improve and gratefully welcome any advice, particularly concerning structure.
(Contains rather childish bad language.)
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The Exorcist; The Beginning
The Exorcist is possibly the greatest horror-film ever made. Since it's 1972 release, the special-effects and intense, nasty atmosphere still haven't dated. Other films may have generated more controversy since, but none have featured a 13 year-old girl masturbating with a crucifix and screaming about Jesus' cock. Yeah!
Ignoring the psychological scares of William Friedkin's original, director Renny Harlin (Deep Blue Sea, Cliffhanger) has created an awkward prequel, more influenced by shit Hollywood blockbusters Tomb Raider and The Mummy. This is The Exorcist for the Jackass generation.
Disillusioned by Nazi atrocities, Father Lankester Merrin abandons his faith and becomes an archeologist. While digging in Africa, he is alerted to the site of a long-buried church to investigate strange occurrences; beds mysteriously shake, doors slam without being touched and sacrilegious images inspired by bad death-metal albums are unearthed. Could the grounds be haunted by a (rather feeble) satanic force?
The plot is gradually possessed by the spirit of a Channel 5 action-film. Unbelievably, Father Merrin has been reinvented as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer, with his cool, wisecracking dialogue and dick-swinging, hardman walk. His "Merrin. Father Merrin!" payoff is destined to be repeated in schoolyards across the land.
To further blemish the original's legacy, the finale unwisely evokes the exorcism of Regan MacNeil, albeit with an older, lankier adversary. Yet somehow a middle-aged, menopausal woman bleeding and swearing isn't particularly shocking or unexpected.
Curiously, the initial script was written by Paul Schnieder, apparently with a 'more cerebral, philosophical approach' to horror. But Warner Brothers, pessimistic about the box-office appeal of an intelligent, thoughtful film, asked Helin to re-write the story with evil super-hyenas and comedy tramps. Thus, The Exorcist; The Beginning sucks cocks in hell. Avoid.
02 / 10
Style, wit and an acerbity I for one like. A very personal voice. Great. However I'll hold fire until I read what you have to say about something you like. And that's a remark about reviewing not a cheap shot.
Write on - Zettel
I think you could lose that first paragraph. It gives the piece a "voice" and an impression of you, but contradicts the flow of the rest of the review.
|none have featured a 13 year-old girl masturbating with a crucifix and screaming about Jesus' cock. Yeah!|
This is my particular hiccup. Nothing wrong with the content, but it gives the reader the feeling that you, as a reviewer, are exactly the kind of person who would prefer the "shit hollywood blockbusters" and belong to the Jackass mentality. Again, nothing wrong with that; morons are allowed opinion too (by that I'm referring to the Jackass Generation, not you) but your second paragraph puts up the argument that the strength of the original film was in its psychological horror, not in shock-rock tactics. The scene with Regan on the bed with the crucifix, the green puke scene, the floating above the bed, and the head turning scene would all have been rendered silly and ridiculous if they were the basis for the horror. They weren't: they were very much secondary to the slow transformation of Regan and the mother seeing her daughter being taken away bit by bit.
I haven't seen the "The Exorcist; The Beginning", but as reviews go, this gives a good argument for reasons to avoid it. And despite my argument against your first paragraph, I actually loved your last line:
|Thus, The Exorcist; The Beginning sucks cocks in hell. Avoid.|
Ward, I agree with Colin that the first paragraph doesn't work. You start as if you're writing a general feature when in fact it's a passionate review. The rest of it is great fun (I never saw the original so I'm taking everything you say as gospel). I think it would be sharper if you started with the line about this being The Exorcist for the Jackass generation, or the thought about this being a blemishing of the original. Also, the language - which you allude to yourself - would have to be tidied up for a wider readership, but it's really lively and funny and makes its points very well. Shyama.
Thank you very much for the great replies. Very helpful.
I'll definitely have to change my first paragraph. I edit my reviews so often, I miss glaring errors and remnants from each of my previous drafts linger and amass into an incoherent mess!
My apologies for not contributing to other posts. I realise it must seem impolite of me to ask for feedback, but not offer any in return. I'm currently working gruelling shifts (horrible factory work!) and only have time to check email!
Zettel - Do you have your review of Lost In Translation posted on here? I noticed you mentioned it during your Kill Bill review (which was brilliant, as were the comments on Collateral). I'd really like to read it. I loved the film, but can't explain why (other than the dreamy soundtrack and Bill Murray)!
Thanks for the comments. I tried to send LIT to you separately by e.mail but couldn't see how to do it unless you don't get an e.mail as a part member. Anyway, rather than clog up the thread here, I've posted it anyway. If there is anyone out there who hasn't yet seen it then maybe the review will ecourage them - even on DVD it's simply great!
Ward - for what it's worth I laughed at this, and love the slating you gave the film. I like the fact you picked up on the original's brilliance and the short fallings of the Hollywood blockbuster mentality which has ruined virtually every horror film ever made by either remaking it or stitching rubbish prequels or sequels to each end.
I like the first paragraph, coz it made me laugh but concur with the others that depending on who you are selling this too, it may need changing. Colin's comments on the "Jackass generation" (for that read young, undereducated, ignorant Americans bloated on falsehoods burrowed into their brains by the excrutiatingly right wing media from a very early age - oops, soz just getting wound up by the electioneering going on at the mo) are very astute and I get what he's saying, but if you were selling this to "Loaded" say, I think it would kinda work.
Anyway, what do I know? I know what I like and I like this!
Nice one mate - keep it up!