The Exorcist: Believer, directed by David Gordon Green, is the long-awaited sequel to the iconic horror film, The Exorcist. With Leslie Odom Jr. leading the cast, expectations were high for this retconning legacy sequel. However, the reviews have been mixed, with critics praising certain aspects while expressing disappointment in others. In this article, we will delve into the various reviews to provide an in-depth analysis of The Exorcist: Believer.
The Plot and Setting
The Exorcist: Believer takes place fifty years after the events of the original film. Victor Fielding, played by Leslie Odom Jr., and his daughter Angela, portrayed by Lidya Jewett, have rebuilt their lives in Georgia following a tragic event in Haiti. The story kicks off when Angela and her friend Katherine, played by Olivia O’Neill, venture into the woods, only to return with disturbing behaviors and blank memories.
Evoking the Original
Critics have noted that The Exorcist: Believer does a commendable job of capturing the autumnal atmosphere and credible characters that made the original film so memorable. The opening half-hour of the movie, in particular, is praised for its vivid depiction of trauma and the slow introduction of supernatural elements. David Gordon Green and his co-writers successfully create an eerie and suspenseful atmosphere reminiscent of the original Exorcist.
A Conventional Horror Tale
While the film starts off strong, it eventually falls into the trap of relying on shopworn genre tropes. Some critics argue that The Exorcist: Believer lacks the soulfulness and emotional heft that made the original film a classic. It is described as a more conventional horror tale, filled with constant dread and eerie thrills. However, it fails to capture the profound terror of William Friedkin’s original masterpiece.
The Scare Factor
One of the primary criticisms leveled against The Exorcist: Believer is its lack of genuine scares. Several reviewers express disappointment in the film’s inability to deliver the terrifying moments expected from an Exorcist movie. They argue that the reliance on familiar tropes and predictable jump scares diminishes the overall impact of the horror elements. The Exorcist: Believer fails to evoke the same level of fear as its predecessor.
Despite the film’s shortcomings, Leslie Odom Jr.’s performance as Victor Fielding is highly praised. Odom brings a quiet intensity to the role and commands every scene he is in. Critics commend his ability to lend emotional depth to the film, surpassing the limitations of the script. Lidya Jewett and Olivia O’Neill, who portray the possessed girls, are also lauded for their exceptional performances, effectively conveying the physicality and twisted expressions of their characters.
Ellen Burstyn’s Return
One of the highlights of The Exorcist: Believer is the return of Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil, the mother from the original film. Burstyn’s inclusion is met with mixed reviews. While her commanding on-screen presence is acknowledged, some critics feel that her character is underutilized, with Burstyn barely getting a chance to make an impact. Her return to the franchise is seen as a missed opportunity to elevate the narrative.
A Missed Opportunity
The Exorcist: Believer is described as a pale reproduction of the original, lacking compelling reasons for its existence. Critics argue that the film grafts franchise iconography onto a slick but uninspired production. The story fails to offer anything of value or originality, ultimately feeling like a missed opportunity to explore new thematic territory. The Exorcist: Believer falls short in resurrecting the terror and emotional depth of its predecessor.
In conclusion, The Exorcist: Believer is a sequel that fails to live up to the legacy of the original film. While the movie starts off strong, it eventually succumbs to conventional horror tropes, resulting in a lackluster and predictable experience. However, standout performances from Leslie Odom Jr. and the young cast members bring some much-needed depth to the film. Overall, The Exorcist: Believer is a haunting sequel that falls short of its potential.