The Exorcist: Believer Massacred the Legacy of An Iconic Film

The Exorcist: Believer marks the return of the franchise in the latest trend of “requels”. 1973’s The Exorcist was hailed as one of the most important horror films of all time due to its usage of practical effects, genuine reactions from actors, as well as gruesome horror that were intended for mature audiences. A simple rehash would not work on a modern audience as the defining traits of the original film have been replicated not just within the horror genre, but integrated into the zeitgeist of popular culture. In other words, audiences are often desensitised when it comes to certain tropes in horror films, and it’s the responsibility of the filmmakers to explore new elements to define what modern horror films can bring to the table.

The Exorcist: Believer does not follow the example of arthouse horror films that have found success in modern filmmaking, Instead, the film resorts to exhausting tropes with the prime example being the usage of jump scares. Helmed by director David Gordon Green, whose notorious work on the recent Halloween trilogy have garnered him intense backlash from both critics and audiences alike, it’s no surprise that the latest Exorcist film fail to achieve the standards set by the original film. With its blend of incoherent plot and poorly written dialogues, The Exorcist: Believer brutally massacres the legacy of an important film.  

In the original The Exorcist, the topic of faith plays an important part to its story. For instance, Father Damian Karras (Jason Miller) struggle with his belief and the theme of religious faith against an unnatural force of evil provided the necessary groundwork for its story. In the latest entry of the franchise, the movie struggles to decide whether they want to illustrate the importance of religious faith, or lean towards the idea of men against the unknown. Ultimately, the film decides to conclude its unfocused story with the idea that “love conquers all”. The indecisiveness to commit to any real thematic resolution renders the film redundant in every conceivable way.

50 years after the release of the original movie, Ellen Burstyn has finally been convinced to reprise her role as Chris MacNeil after wisely turning down any opportunities to appear in every sequel. The veteran actress finally gave in by negotiating a price for a scholarship program for acting students in Pace University. This alone should serve as an indication of how a memorable franchise has now become just another quick cash grab for studios capitalising on nostalgia and the legacy of work laid by others.

The first of a planned trilogy finds its way to theaters with a shaky start that really does put into question the fate of its sequel especially when the exact same team are tied to the project. There are little to no prospects to be excited about and chances are the sequel will continue the downward spiral, resulting in a trilogy of mediocre horror films designed for mindless consumption without the need to put any thoughts while watching.