The Exorcist: Believer Review
By Kevin Hoskinson
THE EXORCIST: BELIEVER isn’t nearly as bad as other critics want you to think it is. Is it the Exorcist sequel we have held our breath for all these years? Not really. But considering nobody asked for a new entry in the franchise, it seems counterproductive to think it was going to be. It’s an exorcism story we have seen played out before, but the twist this time is.. wait for it… there are two girls possessed instead of one! Crazy right?
The movie revolves around two families dealing with the demonic forces that have invaded their daughters. One is the stereotypical Catholic Church-going family, while the other is a single dad who has been dealt an interesting hand since his daughter was born. While exploring the woods and trying to conjure the spirit of her deceased mother, Angela and her friend Katherine disappear for three days. When they are found, the families realize they didn’t come back the same, causing Angela’s dad, Victor, to seek the help of Chris MacNeil, the only person alive who has ever witnessed anything like this before. Together, they must all fight the forces of evil before it completely overtakes the girls.
Directed by David Gordon Green (the guy who divided America when he directed the most recent Halloween trilogy), Believer is a serviceable effort, even though it leaves so much to be desired. There isn’t anything that sets it apart other than a glorified cameo by Ellen Burstyn reprising her role as Chris from the original. While she’s always a welcome presence on screen, she feels wasted, and it seems like a story crutch. It’s easy to see the creative crew having to solve a story problem and using Burstyn as a Band-Aid to fix it. If it’s a true Exorcist sequel, having more connection to the original story-wise would have been nice.
The movie looks good and conjures up some great scares. It would have been right at home in The Conjuring universe, but instead, it uses a 40-year-old classic as its successor. There have been numerous sequels over the years, and none of them have been nearly as good as the first, sadly including this one. When it comes to legacy sequels like this, a lot of people say that it’s unfair to compare them to the original, which is valid. But when movies like 2018’s Halloween and Doctor Sleep do it so well, it’s hard to understand why others can’t do the same.
It’s a perfectly fine movie that exists and is now out in the world. I’m not going to tell you to rush out and see it, but if you are in the mood for a bleak horror movie with some good scares, it’s worth a watch. Just make sure to go in with lowered expectations.