At least there’s one lesson to be learned from the amorphous blob of mediocrity that is Exorcist II, a woefully disappointing sequel: this is the kind of film that doesn’t get made anymore. Not so much the half-assed sequel thing – there are plenty of those – but the advent of the internet means that we don’t get the majority of a film spent on an intensely boring plot involving Richard Burton going into the depths of Africa for some pointless advice from James Earl Jones, because nowadays half that storyline would be resolved by a quick Google search.
The Heretic aims for a dignified, stately tone, but it’s at odds with the silly script, which revolves around a bizarre lightbulb psychic-communication device and …well, I’m not exactly sure, I stopped paying attention. The psychic elements are a mixed bag (demons literally gripping people’s hearts – super-creepy! Stock footage of Africa overlaid with fake-looking locusts – kinda dumb!). Aside from a talented cast, including an enchanting performance from an eighteen year old Linda Blair (displaying the charm that anchored her breakout performance in The Exorcist and the beauty that would later be on full display in Playboy), there’s very little to recommend Exorcist II.