Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA, 1990. Morgan Creek Entertainment. Screenplay by William Peter Blatty, based on his novel Legion. Cinematography by Gerry Fisher. Produced by Carter deHaven. Music by Barry De Vorzon. Production Design by Leslie Dilley. Costume Design by Dana Lyman. Film Editing by Peter Lee-Thompson, Todd C. Ramsay.
William Peter Blatty takes the franchise over as both writer and director after the dismal failure of The Exorcist II, adapting his novel Legion in this sequel that focuses on the police officer portrayed by Lee J. Cobb in the original film. Now played by George C. Scott, Lt. Kinderman continues his friendship with Father Dyer (Ed Flanders), their scenes of endless old movie references interrupted by their both being pulled towards dark events in Georgetown: the detective is investigating a rash of horrific murders that are possibly tied to a resurgence of church desecrations that are worrying the priest. What Kinderman isn’t aware of is that the demon that infested Linda Blair the first time around has come back with friends, now entering the city through a psychiatric inmate who could possibly be Damian Karras (Jason Miller) but most of the time is a madman played by Brad Dourif. Nicol Williamson is on hand, briefly, to portray the equivalent to Max von Sydow’s Father Merrin in a wan thriller that starts out intriguing and complicated before devolving into lengthy scenes of Dourif doing excellent work in a lot of boring, talky scenes. Whatever Blatty was going for doesn’t really come off here, the scary moments are rare and the story loses all its energy and interest well into the second half, collapsing under the weight of unnecessary complications; this one has a lot more in common with the disappointment of The Ninth Configuration than it does Friedkin’s original.