The Exorcist: Believer (2023) Movie Review – A run of the mill legacy sequel

The Iconic Demonic Franchise Returns

It’s surprising that it’s taken this long for Hollywood to revive The Exorcist franchise, especially as exorcism movies have dominated the horror market for some time now. They are known to be cheap to make and always do well at the box office. Blumhouse is behind this direct sequel to the first movie, The Exorcist: Believer, fifty years after the original got the Catholic church’s knickers in a twist over the representation of demonic possession.

David Gordon Green is horror’s golden boy at the moment, after rebooting the Halloween franchise and making a ton of money for Universal. So he’s back in the hot seat for the first of a planned trilogy. I’ve got my money on demon possession not even featuring in part three if Halloween Ends is anything to go by, sidelining its iconic killer, Michael Myers, for the majority of that movie’s run time. But that’s a different story. 

The movie starts off reasonably well, with the introduction of single father Victor (Leslie Odom Jr.) and his teenage daughter, Angela (Lidya Jewett). There is a sense of knowing something bad is going to happen, which is built up quite nicely, with a genuine care for the characters. Angela and her friend go off into the woods and don’t return for three days. You guessed it, when they come back, they are possessed by the devil and start acting out in uncharacteristic ways. 

So far, so good. However, the movie falls apart when Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) makes her long-awaited return to the franchise to help Victor and his possessed daughter. She is criminally underused in this movie and does things that are just not true to the character, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of fans of the original movie. Regardless of these missteps, it’s still very cool to see Burstyn back in action. 

The demon possession scenes are unsettling without moving into horrifying territory like they did in the original. The side characters are also not strong enough to make you fully engage with what’s going on. It does exactly what it says on the tin, but not much more.

Overall, it could have been much worse, but it also could have been a hell of a lot better. No pun intended.


Read More: The Exorcist: Believer Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 6/10

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