The Exorcist: Believer (Movie Review)

One of the dominating trends in Horror films in recent years has been to recreate old masterpiece tales. Unfortunately, they can never live up to the value of the originals. While it is good to introduce younger generations to classic ’70s and ’80s Horror films, what is even better is creating a new modern story that is a dynamic spin-off of said original films.

The Exorcist: Believer / © 2023 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Arriving following a bit of buzz, on Friday, October 6, 2023, The Exorcist: Believer is just that; a brand-new spooky film that branches off from the 1973 classic, The Exorcist. Directed by David Gordon Green (Halloween 2018, Halloween Kills 2021), it features an inspiringly creative take involving not one, but two, proven necessary exorcisms of a couple of brave young girls; Angela (Lidya Jewett: Good Girls series, Feel the Beat 2020) and Katherine (Olivia O’Neill).

Furthermore, The Exorcist: Believer is said to be the first feature in a new trilogy of The Exorcist sequels. In reflection, the 1973 original version of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist was based on a true story of someone who played with a Ouija board, and it remains one of the most terrifying subject matter ever created in the world of Horror. It has a unique charm in the way it turns a sweet, young girl into such a terror. Fast forward to 2023, from the very beginning to the very end, The Exorcist: Believer offers some very unexpected plot points and locations are introduced.

The Exorcist: Believer / © 2023 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Then, a bit into the thick of the plot of The Exorcist: Believer, the one and only Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist 1973, Requiem for a Dream 2000) returns as Chris MacNeil; the mother of prior demonized child Regan. Fun to see, as some major fans will probably guess, there is also another special cameo in this film to enjoy. Without revealing too much of the plot of this inventive tale, which includes a few good jump scares, it must be acknowledged that the use of religion, along with the message it puts out into the world, is peacefully executed.

Basically, a large portion of the most evil acts in the real world throughout history involve an attempt to convert a non-believer into whatever the psycho-killer’s religion believes. In truth, religion can be a very violently dividing factor between different cultures, and this is due to the lack of open-mindedness that actually occurs within. Although, the entire overlooked concept of all religions is to unify all of our souls into a peaceful serenity. In enough words, difference is beautiful, and all humans should be accepting of others in a positive light despite having a differentiating perspective on inner peace.

The message to the audience of The Exorcist: Believer is that the movie does not discriminate against any one particular religious view. This also includes those who have lost touch with their spiritual side; as is depicted by one of the main characters, the father (Leslie Odom Jr.: Knives Out 2019, Hamilton 2020) of one of the possessed girls. Tolerating everyone with their extremely different religious beliefs, we must see they all have the same goal, and that is perhaps the answer we seek. 

The Exorcist: Believer / © 2023 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Overall, the biggest takeaway from The Exorcist: Believer is the comforting notion that all the actors involved served their roles very convincingly. Fans of The Exorcist, who appreciated the creator’s use of some very powerfully disturbing scenes, will find this new film does not counteract any of that original charm. What does this mean? It means that director/co-writer David Gordon Green successfully does not create any conflict or weak overlaps to the original. He has captured your attention while pushing you excited into his future Exorcist inspired sequels.

The Exorcist: Believer is as much of a joy to watch as any well-executed tales of childhood possessions can be. The only disappointment here is the inevitable waiting period until the next film. Until then, Cryptic Rock gives The Exorcist: Believer 5 out of 5 stars.

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The Exorcist: Believer / © 2023 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

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