The Exorcist ★★★★

For the bulk of its duration, The Exorcist finds horror mostly in a mother’s increasing alienation from her daughter. This time out, I appreciated the way that Friedkin repeatedly refuses to resolve the scenes depicting Regan’s outbursts. They come as a shock, and then with an edit are whisked away without any effort to recenter the film’s sense of normalcy. It’s on these grounds that the reinclusion of the infamous spider-walking scene (this marks my second time watching The Version You've Never Seen) becomes most justifiable. It’s an uncontextualized moment of horror that leaves us, like Burstyn’s suffering single mom, at an utter loss. Obviously, this is a film that has entered the vernacular to the extent that it’s impossible to watch without some sense of its legacy of parody and imitation, yet it’s these early scenes, with so many initially unexplained tangents and images (fighting dogs, haunted priests, medical equipment), that continue to unsettle me.