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The Exorcist Believer Review: Holy Fails and the Sins of Hollywood Reboots

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In a cinematic landscape littered with the carcasses of failed reboots and sequels, “The Exorcist Believer” doesn’t so much take a daring leap as it does stumble into the abyss of high expectations. Directed by David Gordon Green, who tragically desecrated the Michael Myers ‘Halloween’ saga, the film aspires to recapture the haunting essence of the 1973 classic, “The Exorcist.” Yet, it serves as another cautionary tale of how not to resurrect a beloved franchise.

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The narrative, centered around Victor (Leslie Odom Jr.), a single father grappling with his daughter’s sudden and disturbing behavioral changes, is rife with missed opportunities. The return of Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil, the original film’s beleaguered mother, should have been a masterstroke. Instead, her character is relegated to the sidelines, a mere shadow in a film that can’t decide whether it wants to pay homage to its predecessor or mock it.

The film’s thematic ambitions are as scattered as its ensemble cast of religious figures, hastily assembled to combat the demonic forces at play. This diversity, while commendable on paper, is executed with such superficiality that it dilutes any potential impact. The film’s attempt to modernize the narrative by incorporating a range of religious perspectives ends up feeling like a token gesture, a half-hearted nod to inclusivity that adds little to the story.

In terms of its place in the horror genre, “The Exorcist Believer” is a study in mediocrity. It neither elevates the legacy of the original nor does it bring anything new to the table. It’s a film trapped in a liminal space, too reverent to innovate and too timid to take risks. The result is a jarring experience that oscillates between moments of unintentional comedy and forced gravitas, never quite finding its footing.

Where the original “The Exorcist” was a genre-defining masterpiece that pushed the boundaries of horror, this installment feels like a pale imitation. It’s a film that, despite its moments of tension and a generally competent cast, fails to deliver a cohesive or impactful cinematic experience.

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“The Exorcist Believer” serves as a grim reminder of the pitfalls of revisiting iconic films. Its inability to forge its own identity while doing justice to the original makes it a forgettable entry in a genre that has seen far better days.

RATING: 2 out of 5.

The Exorcist Believer is now playing in theaters.

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3 Responses

  1. January 3, 2024

    […] also hoping “The First Omen” can rise where something like The Exorcist Believer failed in embracing a contemporary approach to classic horror elements. The film, penned by […]

  2. January 15, 2024

    […] We weren’t huge fans of David Gordon Green’s modern horror revamps of the “Halloween” franchise, and thought “The Exorcist: Believer” was a real miss, so it’s not too surprising that now, director David Gordon Green is departing “The Exorcist: Deceiver,” the sequel to “The Exorcist: Believer.” […]

  3. May 7, 2024

    […] Green was slated to direct a series of three new Exorcist films, debuting with the disastrous The Exorcist: Believer. Green’s departure from the project, however, led to the postponement of the sequel, The […]

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