The Exorcist: Believer (2023)
February 9, 2024 8:10 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] When two girls disappear into the woods and return three days later with no memory of what happened to them, the father of one girl seeks out Chris MacNeil, who's been forever altered by what happened to her daughter fifty years ago.

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

Directed by David Gordon Green. Screenplay by Peter Sattler, David Gordon Green. Story by Scott Teems, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green. Based on characters by William Peter Blatty. Produced by Jason Blum, David C. Robinson, James G. Robinson for Blumhouse/Universal.

Cinematography by Michael Simmonds. Edited by Tim Alverson. Music by David Wingo, Amman Abbasi.

22% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming on Peacock. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (5 comments total)
We saw this on opening night and, pretty much as we figured, it's turned out to be a movie people hate for sport. Is it actually bad? Yeah, kinda. But it's not that bad. More like aggressively mid in a series known for a few sharp peaks. Still... factor in the strong feelings people have for the original, bias against requels, and the various failings of this one and it was doomed to catch a lot of shit, not all of it undeserved.

Trying to make a sequel that would actually feel fresh and scary to one of the most frequently ripped off horror films of all time is a thankless task. David Gordon Green leans heavily into the human/family drama in the first half and even though Leslie Odom Jr. is a wooden statue that can somehow speak (seriously, what the fuck happened to him?), it's mostly solid. That goes on a bit longer than many folks will have patience for.

One thing that I think Green deserves credit for that most Exorcist sequels/ripoffs miss entirely: he recognizes that in the first film, the church has some things right about demons/possession, but it's still not a matter of "just do what the priests say, Catholicism will fix this whole thing." This film takes that to the logical next step and it's maybe its best idea.

But the part where he's gonna lose people is when the scares kick in. Here's the ironic part: they're decent! Kinda good jump scares. The thing is, this *never* manages the trick that the first (and even third) films did. It never makes you feel unsafe. They're just normal scares.

He did have a mildly interesting idea for the ending (with Ann Dowd, who is always great) but he doesn't stick that landing half as well as he should. Whatever broader point he was trying to make about good from various faiths combining to fight eveil, he blows it.

So it's a 2 star, maybe 2.5 star outta 5 kinda deal. And let's be real: while that is disappointing, it also probably means it's the third best entry in the series... with a bullet. Years from now, people will probably all agree it's on the "better" side of the franchise, such as that is. But even then, no one is going to argue it's a classic. Until then, it's gonna be like a contest to see who can shit on it in the most clever way.

Best bet: wait ten years and watch it knowing its rep, and you can be pleasantly surprised it's sort of okay and has its moments. It's mediocre but mostly coherent popcorn horror movie and that makes it way better than most films in the series.

Because if you go in today, hoping for the heights of the Exorcist franchise, you may be pissed off.

Or just, y'know, watch The Pope's Exorcist instead, which knows it's playing an old song and just decides to fuck around and have some fun.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:14 AM on February 9 [5 favorites]

Or just, y'know, watch The Pope's Exorcist instead, which knows it's playing an old song and just decides to fuck around and have some fun.

That movie is an unhinged delight and gave me and Shepherd a bit that we go back to all the time. "It's a lot of work for one priest. But TWO priests?"

I will likely watch this new Exorcist on streaming as an idle Saturday afternoon movie.
posted by Kitteh at 9:20 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Man Pope's Exorcist is so good.

"Talk-a to my boss-a, he's-a da Pope!"
posted by kittensofthenight at 12:47 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]

kittensofthenight, the emphatic jabbing of his index finger heavenward just adds to the delightful bonkers. I cannot recall in any real detail the actual plot of The Pope's Exorcist, but Russell Crowe's hammy scenes are another story!
posted by Kitteh at 4:26 AM on February 10

The second-best exorcism movie is actually the not-especially-heralded found footage film The Last Exorcism. That movie smartly leverages how tired of exorcism tropes we all are, how cynical of organized religion many of us have become. And then it dumps us heathens and skeptics into a deep fucking hole such that we end up begging for faith to save us.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:42 PM on February 10

« Older Masters of the Air: Part Four...   |  Movie: Journey into Fear... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments