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Derrick Dunn

The Exorcist : The Believer is cash grab mumbo jumbo

After dabbling in the Halloween franchise, director David Gordon Green reunites with Blum house to bring his talents to another horror franchise in The Exorcist: The Believer from Universal Pictures. Green pens the screenplay with Peter Sattler from a story by himself, Scott Teems, and Danny McBride.

Green adapts the same methodology he used for his Halloween trilogy by venturing into the challenging mission of creating a sequel to the first Exorcist movie. He makes the wise decision to disregard all the subsequent sequels, prequels, and TV shows.

The Exorcist: The Believer centers around Victor Fielding, portrayed by the talented Leslie Odom Jr. Fielding has been single-handedly raising his daughter, Angela, played by the young and gifted Lidya Jewett, ever since his beloved wife met with a tragic end during a devastating Haitian earthquake 13 years ago.
One day, Angela and her friend Katherine (Olivia O’Neill) disappear in the woods, only to return three days later without remembering what happened to them. It unleashes a chain of events that will force Victor and Katherine’s parents (Jennifer Nettles) and (Norbert Leo Butz)to confront the nadir of evil and, in his terror and desperation.

Following the advice of HIS neighbor Ann (Ann Dowd), Victor sets out on a mission to track down Chris MacNeil, portrayed by Ellen Burstyn. Being a firsthand witness to her daughter Regan’s possession nearly fifty years ago, Chris’ testimony could hold immense value in Victor’s current endeavors. The pursuit of locating her has become paramount in his quest for answers.

My first time genuinely comprehending the horror elements of the classic film The Exorcist was in the summer of 1997 when I rented it for a double feature alongside Scream. I’ve always felt the original movie holds up, but the less said about the first sequel and the prequels, the better.

The latest film in the franchise starts well enough before collapsing under its own weight. I’ll give credit to Leslie Odom Jr., who delivers another solid performance. I identified with his relationship with his daughter. In the role of the daughter, Lidya Jewett is also good. The final result may have been more robust if the filmmakers focused solely on them and hinted at Hatiain voodoo and religion. I was also fond of going beyond Catholicism and Christianity, but even that comes off as Possession Film 101.

Aside from Ann Dowd’s performance, the supporting cast unfortunately falls into predictable character archetypes commonly found in possession films. Even as a horror enthusiast, I did not find any genuinely frightening moments or feel a sense of impending danger. Those anticipating a significant impact from Ellen Burstyn may be disappointed, as her screen time is limited to less than fifteen minutes.

While it’s not necessarily wrong to update or expand upon an existing franchise, in the case of the latest Exorcist movie, it’s painfully apparent that the sole motivation behind its creation was to retain the rights. Fans of the horror genre were already familiar with the controversy surrounding the film’s production and the negative feedback from test screenings. After watching the movie, it’s evident that this was a shameless attempt to cash in on the trend of legacy sequels.

Final Grade: C-
The Exorcist: The Believer is in theaters tonight

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The Exorcist : The Believer is cash grab mumbo jumbo