Stellan Skarsgård, Gabriel Mann, Clara Bellar, Billy Crawford, Ralph Brown, Israel Aduramo and Julian Wadham

Paul Schrader

Running Time:
117 mins

"Choose ten people"

After loosing his faith after witnessing the worst of man during the Second World War, Lankester Merrin (Skarsgård) has forsaken the church and focused his life on archaeology. While on a dig in East Africa, Merrin discovers a Christian church that predates any form of Christianity reaching that area of Africa. Buried since it was built, as Merrin and Catholic priest Father Francis (Mann) discover that they have found something that wasn't meant to be found and released a presence that had been dormant for centuries.

Paul Schrader's vision of how Father Merrin's dealings with evil began was never meant to see the light of day but now it has awaked.

After viewing this first version of the 'Exorcist' prequel, the executives at Warner Bros. decided that the it wasn't the film they wanted to release and the started the project again with a new director and a different cast but after the version failed, they decided to release Schrader original version. While the premise of both movies is the same, a Christian church is found in the African desert and evil is unleashed', each version of the film is very different.

While Renny Harlin's version ramped up the scares and the gore to bring in the younger, more bloodthirsty audience, Schrader's film drew more from the psychological effects of evil. The film concentrates on the wickedness of man and how the devil and his minions can manipulate them into committing acts of pure evil. Instead of the excessive killings and gore we now have a film that builds a sense of foreboding towards a climatic confrontation that will change Merrin's life forever.

Besides the basic premise of the movie, the only other connection between the two is the presence of Stellan Skarsgård as Father Merrin. The character has again lost his faith and turned his endeavours to archaeology but the discovery of the mysterious Christian church will make him question himself again. Skarsgård's performance is very good again and very similar to that of the remake, as Merrin tries to solve the mysteries of Church and the evil it unleashes but this is a more restrained and calculated version of Merrin and one that is not as trouble as he was in the second version.

The big question is 'Which version of the 'Exorcist' prequel is the better movie?' and the answer is neither. Each of them has serious problems that could have been solved by taking the best parts of each of the scripts and making a more complete movie. While 'Dominion' is more character driven and tension filled, if lacks a clearly defined backstory to explain the church (which the remake had) and any genuine scares to make this horror movie the one 'Exorcist' fans hoped would possess them.


Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the movie is presented well.


Feature Commentary with Director Paul Schrader
The acclaimed director talks about his take of the 'Exorcist' prequel. He reveals how he became involved in the project and the approach to telling Father Merrin's first confrontation with pure evil. He talks about the shortcomings of the story and which elements he personally didn't think worked in a horror context. He reveals how they wanted to concentrate more on Father Merrin's story and less on the gore and evil that had dominated the original and its sequels. He doesn't really talk much on why the film wasn't released at the cinema however and his feelings about it, but he covers most aspects of the film's production.

Deleted Scenes (5.34 mins)
Entitled 'On the march', 'House of Saint Michael', 'Cigarette', 'Classroom Song', 'Finest Painter' and 'Church in Ruins', these deleted scenes are not accompanied by a commentary or introduction to explain why they where removed from the film.

Still Gallery
View publicity shots from 'Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist'


Warner Bros. have done the right thing by releasing Paul Schrader's version of the Exorcist prequel as it gives fans a chance to make up their own minds as to which is the best. The extra features are a little slight but the commentary is good and worth a listen but the inclusion of a making of featurette or an interview with the director would have added to the value.


Exorcist The Beginning

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