“The Exorcist: Believer” a Stain on an Otherwise Legendary Legacy

Possessing theaters everywhere this Halloween season, “The Exorcist: Believer” directed by David Gordon Green, director of the “Halloween” reboot series, leaves a bad taste and a giant stain on the legacy of a legendary movie. As direct sequels to legendary horror movies go it’s bottom of the barrel.

“The Exorcist: Believer” follows Victor Fielding (Leslie Odom Jr.) as he tries to exorcize a demon out of his daughter (Lidya Jewett) and her friend (Olivia O’Neill). With a return of legacy characters like Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) and Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) from the original it creates something that feels like a cash grab in the worst way possible.

The story is a mess from the beginning. It tries to replicate the feeling of the original, but fails miserably through the use of sudden jump scares and loud music queues in order to elicit fear from the audience. There is no apparent sense of dread like the original has because it can not be entirely replicated by David Gordon Green. Funny enough, the story focuses too much on the exorcism and not enough on the emotions surrounding it.

There are many good scenes throughout the movie, but sadly all of them are in the trailer. Everything between the “trailer shots” is dry, mediocre, and a lot of times boring throughout the 111 minute runtime. The performances by Leslie Odom Jr., Lidya Jewett, and Olivia O’Neill were all good, but everyone else was either forgettable or lackluster. Lastly, the makeup on the possessed girls was very good and so were most of the special effects surrounding the exorcism.

This movie goes to show that a trailer isn’t always the movie. It will leave a stain on the legacy of the original movie, especially as a direct sequel. It does a disservice to the genre and shows why legacy horror sequels are never the way to go unless you have a director who understands why the source material was terrifying. With David Gordon Green’s recent track record in horror it may be better if he takes his leave and doesn’t return to the genre. 

Directed by David Gordon Green

Starring: Leslie Odom Jr., Lidya Jewett, Olivia O’Neill, Jennifer Nettle, Norbert Leo Butz, Ellen Burstyn, Ann Dowd, Linda Blair

Rated R

My Rating: ★½