It's not just about a demon inhabiting a little girl, but "it's also about the vulnerability of those around her and how badly they are damaged by their having to deal with the possession," explained Calia, who pointed out that Father Merrin best summed up the demon's modus operandi when the priest stated that "the demon's target is not the possessed; it is us ... the observers ... every person in this house."
"The story can shake our understanding of the world and ourselves," Calia continued, "and that's where the film functions on a level beyond mere entertainment."
While the film contains unforgettable images and great scares, Crouse said, "what I think drew people to this movie is it takes you on such a journey where, in the end, good wins out."
The takeaway is that good and evil battle one another out, within everyone, every day.
"Everyone who sees 'The Exorcist' takes from it what they bring to it," said Friedkin. "If you believe in the mystery of faith, in the power of goodness over evil; that is what you will take from the film."