Home The Exorcist: Believer

The Exorcist: Believer (15)

Cast: Leslie Odom Jr, Lidya Jewett, Ann Dowd, Ellen Burstyn
Genre: Horror
Author(s): Peter Sattler, David Gordon Green
Director: David Gordon Green
Release Date: 06/10/2023
Running Time: 111mins
Country: US
Year: 2023

Single parent Victor Fielding raises his daughter Angela, 13 years after the death of his pregnant wife in a Haitian earthquake. He is alarmed when Angela and her friend Katherine vanish in the woods and return three days later with no memory of their ordeal. A shocking chain of events convinces Victor that his daughter's soul is at stake and he calls upon Chris MacNeil to help him confront an ancient evil.

LondonNet Film Review

The Exorcist: Believer (15) Film Review from LondonNet

Fifty years after its original theatrical release, William Friedkin’s supernatural horror The Exorcist, based on the best-selling book by William Peter Blatty, still possesses a rare ability to terrorise febrile imaginations and send shivers down the spine. Director David Gordon Green’s sequel to the 1973 film, the opening salvo of a trilogy modelled on his 2018 resurrection of the Halloween franchise, performs no such miracles despite the eagerly anticipated return of Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil, whose daughter Regan was possessed in the original…

“We’ve met before,” Chris tells the obscenity-spewing demon that inhabits two young classmates in The Exorcist: Believer. Audiences have certainly seen this unholy battle of body and blood before, and Gordon Green offers nothing new to an overstuffed genre besides transplanting the action hundreds of miles down the east coast from Washington DC to Georgia where demonic fire can be fought with ritualistic African American folk magic and spiritual practices. His well-executed but thrill-starved nightmare reprises Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells on the soundtrack and heavily telegraphs a final scene as the dramatic “amen” to whet appetites for a second film, The Exorcist: Deceiver in 2025.

Gordon Green and co-writers Scott Teems and Danny McBride choose the real-life 2010 magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Haiti, which struck near the capital Port-au-Prince and claimed an estimated 220,000 lives, as the backdrop to their opening sequence. Photographer Victor Fielding (Leslie Odom, Jr) loses his heavily pregnant wife Sorenne (Tracey Graves) to Mother Nature’s fury but a baby girl, blessed in the womb by Haitian ritual, is delivered safely into his arms. Thirteen years later, Victor and headstrong daughter Angela (Lidya Jewett) are settled in Percy, Georgia, surrounded by God-fearing folk like Angela’s classmate Katherine (Olivia O’Neill) and her parents (Norbert Leo Butz, Jennifer Nettles).

The girls head into the woods after school and three days later, Angela and Katherine return with no memory of time elapsed. “Something they did out there opened them up for an unholy spirit to enter,” declares Katherine’s mother. ER nurse Ann (Ann Dowd), who is Victor’s next-door neighbour, furnishes him with a copy of Chris MacNeil’s best-selling memoir A Mother’s Explanation to hammer home the reality of Angela’s demonic possession. Victor contacts Chris and implores her to save his daughter, supported by local pastor Don Revans (Raphael Sbarge) and Hoodoo practitioner Dr Beehibe (Okwui Okpokwasili).

The Exorcist: Believer revisits imagery from the original film, confirming evil never dies when Hollywood is passing around a collection plate to audiences haunted by the MacNeil family’s harrowing ordeal in 1973. Burstyn lends gravitas to her scenes while Odom, Jr’s grief-stricken single parent feels inert for extended periods, surrendering to young co-stars with impressive make-up that captures their characters’ tormented souls. Gordon Green’s picture inflicts no such distress on us.

– Kim Hu

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