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Having ruined the Halloween franchise David Gordon Green does the same for another classic horror series in The Exorcist: Believer, a superfluous entry that has nothing meaningful to say.

Universal Pictures reportedly shelled out as much as 400 million dollars for the rights of the Exorcist franchise. Whether that is a wise investment remains to be seen but with Believer, the first in a proposed new movie trilogy, Universal is off to a rocky start.

The opening of The Exorcist: Believer isn't half bad to be honest, as we are introduced to Leslie Odom Jr., who loses his wife but not their newborn daughter in the devestating 2010 Haiti earthquake. With its disjointed editing and visceral dynamic director David Gordon Green definitely pays fitting homage to the intriguing opening of William Friedkin's original.

Once the movie jumps forward 13 years and the now teenage girl and her best friend are possessed by the devil, that's where Believer goes off the rails quickly. All the intrigue of the opening act is thrown out of the window in favour of run-of-the-mill horror tropes, with little in the way of character development or thematic coherence.

Even the return of Ellen Burstyn to the franchise, for a prolonged cameo after a 50 year absence, doesn't give the film added impetus. On the contrary: with each new scene the picture makes it more evident that there is no reason for its existence beyond the pillaging of presumed moneyspinning IP.

It all leads to a third act that has people and demons shouting at themselves, at eachother and at God. By that time you might find yourself shouting to the movie screen too, likely something along the lines of 'For the love of God, please make this stop'.

release: 2023

director: David Gordon Green

starring: Leslie Odom Jr., Ann Dowd, Ellen Burstyn, Lidya Jewett


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