I wanted to take my time with this, since it is THE exorcism book so I had to give it the attention that it deserves.
At first, I was just going to review the movie, since I haven’t seen it since I was very young, but that would be doing a disservice to the story.
The Exorcist is a 1971 horror novel by American writer William Peter Blatty. It tells the story of young Regan MacNeil, daughter of a famous actress who begins to show unusual behavior after suffering from a seemingly unknown illness. Worried for her health, her mother takes her to the hospital. At first they assume that the issue is a psychological one, but when Regan starts to display physical and mental changes, her mother starts looking for answers elsewhere.
For the most part, everyone knows the story. It has been told many times in all forms of fiction. But how does the original hold up?
Well, to start of, it is not really as scary as one would expect. There is a lot more analyzing and investigating than horror but that to me was what made it good. It takes a logical approach to the issue and goes into detail on what the illness could be, involving doctors, psychiatrists doing extensive testing as well as a skeptical priest who at first dismisses everything. That is what I love in stories like these. The wonderful mix of logic and faith that build up the story more than either one of the logical and faithful side could in by themselves.
This, makes you guessing till the very end on the authenticity of Regan’s possession. In turn, playing on your imagination can make it scarier to some, especially since it gets you to question your faith (if you have it of course). Thus it makes it different enough from the movie that makes it a worthy read for fans of the film.
Final verdict: 8/10