Joshua John Miller’s The Exorcism (2024) offers a fresh spin on the haunted house trope, relocating the terror to the heart of a film set. With Russell Crowe as the lead, the film boasts a promising premise: an actor possessed by the ghost from his horror movie. While the concept is undeniably intriguing, the execution falters, losing momentum as it transitions between the meta-narrative and the horror elements.

Crowe delivers a compelling performance as a man desperately seeking redemption through his craft, only to find himself consumed by a supernatural force. The exorcism sequences are the film’s highlight, delivering the chills and suspense that horror fans crave. However, the overall narrative struggles to find its footing, leaving audiences with a mixed bag of thrills and disappointments.

Spoilers Ahead

The Exorcism (2024) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

“The Exorcism” opens with a guy walking into the set with the script in his hand, memorizing the dialogues while rehearsing the scenes. He is all alone in the set as he prepares himself for the big day tomorrow when he needs to perform the exorcism during the shoot. His rehearsal goes well. However, suddenly, the whole set goes dark as someone scratches his throat, killing him on the very set. Soon after, we meet with Lee Miller, who is visiting her father, Anthony Miller. Miller has been an actor his whole life. After his wife’s death, Anthony seeks respite in drugs and drinking, which results in memory loss and blackouts, and it distances him from his daughter, Lee.

When Lee comes home, Anthony goes to confess his sin. He talks about Grace, Anthony’s wife, and the time when she was diagnosed with cancer. Anthony was not around her to take care of his wife because he was too busy with his shooting and partying. When Grace died, he filled himself with the guilt of not being there for her. He only uses it to take advantage by drowning himself in drugs and drinking. Now, with this film, he wants to redeem himself from all the sins he has committed and help build a good relationship with his daughter.

When Was the First Time Anthony Was Possessed?

Since Lee is suspended from college for protesting against Dean, she is working as Anthony’s PA so that the father and daughter can spend more time together. Anthony’s drinking and drug habit has already damaged his reputation. There is a very slight chance that he will make a comeback when he receives a film titled “The Georgetown Project.” Anthony, popularly known as Tony, has taken the role of a priest who will perform an exorcism on one of the members of a family.

However, during the screen test, no matter how hard Tony tries to deliver his dialogues, the director seems to not like it as it lacks conviction. But, finally, when Tony talks about his life and what makes him think that this movie could be a ticket to his return to the world he has once lived, the director casts him as the priest of the horror film “The Georgetown Project.” On the first day of the shoot, Tony is about to perform the same scenes we see at the beginning of the film. Father Conor is present at the set and sees Tony in the costume.

The Exorcism (2024) Movie Ending Explained
A still from “The Exorcism” (2024)

Right after Tony wears the costume of a priest, he feels something, and then blood comes out of his nose. This is the first time Tony’s body is used as a vessel by some demonic entity, which is still an enigma at this point. Anyway, the shooting starts. With time, Tony’s performance goes bad. The director wants to cut him off the film. Back at home, Tony is suffering from the traumas he faced as a child. He starts reliving those traumas that he has been running away from ever since.

What Events Make Lee Think that Tony is Acting Strange?

One night, when Lee comes back home, she hears Tony murmuring some Latin words from downstairs. She starts recording that while going down to the basement, where Tony’s voice is coming from. When she reaches there, she sees Tony completely naked, urinating, and suddenly finds him upstairs, looking right at her from there. Lee is very much confused about what is happening. She thinks that perhaps Tony is not taking his medicines in time. A few days later, Lee finds Tony injured and bloodied.

Lee tries to make him understand that she will leave him if he continues torturing her with such behaviors. Unbeknownst to her, Tony has been dreaming of the events from his childhood where his father used to abuse him both mentally and physically. Lee had known from her mother that Tony had been a victim throughout his childhood. But she never knew that things were this serious. However, the demon that has already possessed Tony’s body reminds himself of the darkest phases of life while trying to demolish his soul completely.

So, when Lee says that she will leave if he continues behaving as such, Tony walks to her saying that she has nowhere to go since she has no mother and she is even suspended from her college. Tony behaves very cruelly with Lee. Moreover, before she leaves the room, he says that he is not Tony. Lee’s fear of the moment supersedes her doubt on the matter. The following day, Tony tells her to leave him because he does not know what else he can do to protect Lee. He confesses that he is not doing any drugs or drinking. But he does not know what is going on with him as he does not remember anything from last night.

Why Does the Shooting of “The Georgetown Project” Stop?

With everything going on, Lee, along with her new-found celebrity friend Blake, seeks help from Father Conor. Lee shares the recording with him, where he learns that Tony is uttering something about bringing back the demon named Molech by sacrificing children. Later that night, Conor starts reading an ancient book about Molech. He finds a picture of him holding a child in his arms. Conor realizes that Tony’s body is being used by Molech. He must perform an exorcism to help Tony in this situation. However, Molech feels what Conor is thinking as he tries some tricks to make Conor fear his presence around him as well.

Soon, on the set, when the exorcism scene is being shot, Tony finds it very hard to say the dialogue. It is perhaps because Molech has taken over his body completely. It is becoming difficult for him to utter those specific words because these godly phrases always irritate the demon. Seeing this, the director comes and whispers in Tony’s ears that he needs to perform no matter what. However, he also reminds him about his father abusing him when he was 12 years old. Soon after, when the shoot begins, Tony comes downstairs, surprising everyone, and does something bizarre.

A still from The Exorcism (2024).
A still from The Exorcism (2024).

Tony bends his body in a very abnormal position, and suddenly, the set goes dark. A light turns up, and everyone sees Tony sitting near a table. Conor and Lee witness everything along with the rest of the crew members while Tony is seeking help. Lee tries to go near him when Tony starts banging his head against the table. Tony is kept in his room while Conor, Lee, and Blake wait outside, thinking about what is to be done. Meanwhile, the director approaches one of the co-actors, Joe, to replace Tony.

However, the demon Molech feels this, and when Joe goes to the set to rehearse his scene, something terrible happens. Joe wears the costume of the priest and he looks at the mirror to repeat the dialogues. Suddenly, Tony’s right-hand grabs Joe’s neck from the opposite side of the mirror. The mirror breaks. As a result, a big piece cuts through Joe’s eyes, resulting in a vicious death on the set. Blake shares the news with Lee as the production has decided to scrap the film as of now. Depressed, Blake decides to stay the night with Lee as they start kissing while Tony screams from his room.

The Exorcism (2024) Movie Ending Explained:

What does Father Conor Do to Save Tony from Molech’s Possession?

Lee runs to Tony’s room. He forces himself to be intimate with her. It is obviously Molech, the demon who knows no bounds. Blake hits him from the back to save Lee. Later, Tony jumps from the window and disappears. Father Conor is informed. Now he knows that the exorcism must be done, or else things will go out of hand. Lee tells Conor that she is sure Tony will be found in the Cold Room set of the production. Conor enters the room while Blake and Lee wait outside, but Blake is not found. Lee then decides to go into the Cold Room, and she finds Conor’s Bible lying there.

Soon after, she sees that Tony has made Conor and Blake still figures. Lee tries to read out the verses to stop Molech. But he says that unless Lee believes in what she says or reads, nothing will happen to him. Molech even tells Lee that she should not waste her time trying to save Tony because her father never wanted her in the first place. Knowing that Tony never wanted a child does not affect Lee’s determination to rescue Tony from Molech’s clutches. She taps the cross on Tony’s head, burning a certain portion, resulting in freeing Conor and Blake.

Conor then decides to sacrifice his life by asking Molech to use his body as the vessel and leave Tony. Molech does so, and now Tony performs the exorcism. He has already practiced it numerous times but failed to perform on the big day of the shoot because of Molech. But now, since Molech has left his body, Tony performs the exorcism, remembering all the lines in the exact order, causing problems for Molech. Molech, now residing in Conor’s body, tries to resist a lot until Tony stabs the cross on his forehead and throat. This burns Conor’s body completely, along with Molech living inside of it.

At the end of the film, we see Tony confessing again. But this time, he is making this a more regular thing. He says that Lee’s presence is making him feel like he is living with Grace all over again. He is grateful to be able to share these invaluable moments with his daughter after being away for a long time. Meanwhile, Lee has written another play on her own and sends it to Tony for a reading. Tony will eventually make a comeback as an actor, as Lee will perhaps become a director soon.

Read More: The Exorcism (2024) Movie Review: Isn’t Interesting as a Self-Contained Horror Movie Without its Numerous Contexts Weighing it Down

Trailer:

The Exorcism (2024) Movie Links: IMDbRotten TomatoesWikipediaLetterboxd
Cast of The Exorcism (2024) Movie: Russell Crowe, Ryan Simpkins, Sam Worthington, Chloe Bailey, Adam Goldberg, Adrian Pasdar, David Hyde Pierce
The Exorcism (2024) Movie Genre: Horror/Mystery & Thriller | Runtime: 1h 33m
Where to watch The Exorcism

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