Known for his work on the Halloween franchise, director David Gordon Green teams up with the studio behind Insidious, Get Out, and other horror hits, Blumhouse Productions, to breathe new life into one of the most iconic horror films in history with “The Exorcist: Believer.” This modern-day follow on from the 1973 classic delivers a chilling and suspenseful experience that horror fans won’t want to miss.
The film introduces us to photographer, Victor Fielding, played with raw emotion by Tony winner Leslie Odom, Jr.
Since the tragic loss of his pregnant wife in a Haitian earthquake 13 years ago, Victor has devoted his life to raising their daughter Angela, portrayed brilliantly by Lidya Jewett. However, when Angela and her friend Katherine (Olivia O’Neill) mysteriously disappear into the woods, only to be found miles away with no memory of their ordeal, no shoes on their feet and vicious tears to their legs, Victor is forced to confront unimaginable evil.
Victor seeks out Chris MacNeil, the character famously played by Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn, who reprises her role for the first time in 50 years, and begs for assistance in helping his daughter.
The Exorcist: Believer offers a fresh perspective on the possession horror genre, delving into themes of unity and community. Green expertly explores the impact of possession not just from a religious standpoint but also from a psychological and emotional angle. The film’s commitment to relatable characters and grounded storytelling amidst the supernatural elements really sets it apart from traditional horror films.
Odom, Jr. delivers a powerful performance as Victor, a father willing to confront the darkest of forces to save his daughter. His portrayal captures the desperation and fear of a parent facing the unknown. Ellen Burstyn’s return as Chris MacNeil is a welcome sight, adding a layer of authenticity and nostalgia to the film.
The supporting cast, including Ann Dowd, Jennifer Nettles, and Norbert Leo Butz, adds depth to the story, each character contributing to the film’s overall sense of dread and unease.
The young actresses, Lidya Jewett and Olivia O’Neill, also deliver exceptional performances as Angela and Katherine. Their ability to convey the stages of possession, from innocence to malevolence, is impressive and adds to the film’s tension.
“The Exorcist: Believer” successfully pays homage to the original while carving out its own identity. I do have to admit the movie takes a while to really get going, but the scene needed to be set and characters needed to be built up. I also can’t decide if I just was impatient and was sitting with that sense of the impending horror because it is an Exorcist movie and I knew something had to be coming!
Honestly, there weren’t enough jump scares for my liking BUT it was sufficiently gross! (I could ALWAYS do with more gross, though!) Effective use of makeup and lighting create great visuals. The story is further enriched by subtle nods and references to the 1973 classic, which should delight fans of the original.
David Gordon Green’s direction and the strong performances by the cast create a gripping and thought-provoking experience that reinvigorates the possession horror genre. The return of Ellen Burstyn to her iconic role is a highlight, and the young actresses shine in their challenging roles. Prepare to be entertained when going to watch this movie, in cinemas now!