The Exorcist: Believer

October 6, 202330/1005 min
Starring
Ellen Burstyn, Jennifer Nettles, Ann Dowd, Leslie Odom Jr
Written by
Peter Sattler (screenplay), David Gordon Green, ( screenplay/ screen story by), Scott Teems and Danny McBride ( screen story by)
Directed by
David Gordon Green
Run Time
2h 1min
Release Date
October 6th, 2023
Overall Score
Rating Summary

      Like a killer from a slasher film, a good horror franchise is hard to kill. After its successful reboot of the Halloween series in 2018, the team behind it has found their next horror project to pull out of the attic and dust off. That project is The Exorcist, whose original film from 1973 still stands as one of the best horror movies of all time but hasn’t been seen on the screen since 2005’s Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist. So, grab your rosary beads because the franchise is back.

After an accident that killed his wife, Victor Fielding (Leslie Odom Jr.) is left to raise their daughter Angela (Lidya Jewett) alone. Everything is going well, and on a normal day, Victor drops Angela off at school. However, the day is not going to end well. Angela and her friend Katherine (Olivia O’Neill) have plans for some after-school activities in the woods next to the school. Their plans involve trying to contact Angela’s mother from the other side, but they might have summoned something else instead. Three days later, after an extensive search by both sets of parents, Angela and Olivia reappear. While they look fine, they start to show signs that something is seriously wrong. That something is possession, and while Katherine’s family are churchgoers, Victor is not really a believer. However, after his neighbor gives him a book, he starts to believe in something. The book was written by Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn), whose daughter Regan was possessed at one point.

Written by Peter Sattler, Scott Teems, and David Gordon Green (who also directed), The Exorcist: Believer takes a cue from the new Halloween series by combining the new with the old. Ellen Burstyn reprises her role from the first film, and by the time the theme music kicks in, the movie hopes to bring back all the nostalgic feelings. Unlike Halloween, though, The Exorcist: Believer doesn’t have a character associated with it like Jamie Lee Curtis did with Halloween, so it doesn’t have the same impact. By the time the movie reaches the possession scene, it has relied on jump scares more than actual scares, which made me question the real scare value of exorcism films.

The Exorcist: Believer continues the decline in quality of the Exorcist series, with more bad entries than good. I did enjoy the religious aspect of this one, as the Catholic Church is joined by other cultures in their battle against a demon once again. However, there isn’t much that’s praiseworthy, and The Exorcist: Believer’s biggest fault might be that it’s simply too boring to be scary. It also feels watered down, and one could argue that having The Exorcist in the title weighs it down more than it helps, as it never lives up to its namesake. I wish I had better news to start the spooky season, but I’m not a believer in this one.

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