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“Dominion –Prequel to the Exorcist"
Wayne A. Klein
Studio: Warner
Genre: Horror
Special Features: Deleted scenes, commentary track by the director, stills gallery)

It isn’t often that a film gets a second chance. This prequel to “The Exorcist” was retooled by director Renny Harlin (“Cliffhanger”, “Die Hard 2”)for the much more conventional “The Exorcist: The Beginning”. Director Paul Schrader (“Hardcore”, “Cat People”) has chosen to make a suspense thriller vs. a horror film and, as a result, this film focuses much more on the character of Father Merrin (the excellent Stellan Skarsgård) and his struggle with an incident from his past and how it causes him to doubt his faith in his church and God. In “Dominion” Merrin earns a chance at redemption and to rediscover his faith. While “Dominion” may be more of a film character study than “The Beginning” that doesn’t mean Lucifer isn’t around. The plot of “Dominion” shares much in common with “The Beginning” the difference in details is related to the difference in the director. Unfortunately, the funky looking CGI hyenas appear in this version also (the film was shot on an amazingly low budget for a major Hollywood film) and while the resolution is less conventional and hokey here than in “The Beginning” I’m not sure that it’s any more satisfying. ---

Special Features: As with the other version of this film, “Dominion” comes with a commentary track by director Schrader, deleted scenes and a stills gallery. I smell a double dip with the other film coming as there’s much about this film’s embattled production that are only hinted at by Schrader in the commentary track. Schrader is an engaging speaker but that’s when he speaks. He would have benefited from having one of the actors appear on the track as well as he lapses into silence quite frequently. The deleted scenes don’t add all that much to the drama and clearly they were cut because they were inferior scenes. There’s also a stills gallery included as well. ---

Final Words:

The lack of special features indicates to me that this will be probably re-released with “The Beginning” at some point in the future. “Dominion” may not be the blockbuster horror film fans were hoping for but it’s not as bad as “The Exorcist II” although it’s not quite up to the “The Exorcist III: Legion” either. Schrader’s film has its moments and overall I felt it was better than “The Beginning” which was too slick and predictable. I’d suggest renting “Dominion”.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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