In Holland during World War II, Father Lankester Merrin is forced by a Nazi officer to choose 10 of his flock to be executed, and the resulting psychological trauma shakes his faith in God. After the war, Merrin, on a temporary sabbatical from the priesthood, becomes an archaeologist in British East Africa, where an anachronistic 5th-century Byzantine church is discovered. As the archaeological crew digs deeper, it becomes clear that the church was not intended as a house of worship but as a crypt to contain an unspeakable evil. But when a demonic spirit is unleashed, the tortured priest must overcome doubt and find renewed faith to perform his first exorcism.
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