Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: David Gordon Green
Cast:  Leslie Odom, Jr., Ann Dowd, Jennifer Nettles, Norbert Leo Butz, Lidya Jewett, Olivia Marcum, Ellen Burstyn
Runtime: 1 hr 51 mins
Rating: NC16 (Horror and Violence)
Released By: UIP
Official Website:

Opening Day: 12 October 2023

Synopsis: Exactly 50 years ago this fall, the most terrifying horror film in history landed on screens, shocking audiences around the world. Now, on Friday, October 13, a new chapter begins. From Blumhouse and director David Gordon Green, who shattered the status quo with their resurrection of the Halloween franchise, comes The Exorcist: Believer. Since the death of his pregnant wife in a Haitian earthquake 12 years ago, Victor Fielding (Tony winner and Oscar(r) nominee Leslie Odom, Jr.; One Night in Miami, Hamilton) has raised their daughter, Angela (Lidya Jewett, Good Girls) on his own. But when Angela and her friend Katherine (newcomer Olivia Marcum), disappear in the woods, only to return three days later with no memory of what happened to them, it unleashes a chain of events that will force Victor to confront the nadir of evil and, in his terror and desperation, seek out the only person alive who has witnessed anything like it before: Chris MacNeil.

Movie Review:

We cannot help but wonder – was the purpose of David Gordon Green’s direct sequel to the very first ‘Exorcist’ intended as homage or sacrilege?

At least in the first hour, we can say with some confidence that it was the former. Eschewing the tendency to pile on the jump scares, Green instead fashions an atmospheric, quietly unnerving, well-constructed supernatural mystery.

What exactly had happened to Angela (Lidya Jewett) and Katherine (Olivia Marcum), two teenage girls who disappeared after school into the woods and turned up three days later in a barn 30 miles from their last-known location with no memory of how they had gotten there? Or perhaps more specifically, what entity did they end up summoning after trying to contact Angela’s late mother via a séance?

With the focus on Angela’s father Victor (Leslie Odom Jr), Green paints the agony of a single parent confronted with the loss of his only child and then by fear that there is something very wrong with her despite her re-appearance. Though Katherine’s parents are no doubt feeling the same, Green invests emotional mileage in the bond between Victor and Angela, and therefore Victor’s struggle when Angela deteriorates both physically and mentally.

To his credit too, Green builds up a strong and effective sense of dread in the first hour. From a series of unsettling moments, to the undeniable symptoms of possession, and to the very outright utterances of blasphemy, Green charts a foreboding descent as he sets up the showdown between good and evil.

Just as intriguing is the struggle and importance of faith, which Victor has to overcome in order to rescue Angela. Green sets that up firstly through Victor’s next-door neighbour nurse Ann (Ann Dowd), who was a former novitiate nun before needing to step back from taking her vows, and then through Chris (Ellen Burstyn), who following the events of the first movie, had apparently travelled the world to study every religion’s form of exorcism and written a best-selling book about it.

It is therefore even more disappointing when we find out in the second hour that Green has no intention of seeing these ideas through; instead, perhaps out of studio pressure or otherwise, Green abandons the carefully constructed build-up thus far and piles on the shlock, violence and every other excess the genre is guilty of – and that is even before a pitiful titular climax that is just plain silly, ridiculous and laughable.

Oh yes, there are many reasons to be exasperated with Green at this point. For one, fans anticipating Burstyn’s return will be livid at how quickly and irresponsibly she is sidelined (similar to how Jamie Lee Curtis was in 'Halloween Returns'), rendering her presence to no better than a cameo. For another, it disregards the Catholic grounding of the series not only with an unsanctioned priest but also by throwing in other useless types such as an oncologist turned voodoo practitioner and an evangelical minister. And last but not least, it commits the ultimate sin by turning the big exorcism sequence into a joke, by getting the girls to writh, drool, spit, scream, wail and expectorate black goo.

To even have to pen down Green’s sins at this point is enough to make our blood boil. We’re not sure just why Blumhouse had decided to shell out US$400mil for this franchise, and why after doing so, they would let Green get away with such an atrocious supposed franchise starter. Never mind the token bits of fan service (like how Katherine mutters 'the power of Christ compels you') - by the time the movie confirms that it isn’t Pazuzu that is the demon, we’ve come to the inevitable conclusion that ‘The Exorcist: Believer’ is really sacrilege. Don’t deceive yourself by stepping into this mess.

Movie Rating:

(No amount of writhing, screaming and expectorating can redeem this infuriatingly anaemic sequel from being sacrilege)

Review by Gabriel Chong 

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