Hard to believe that it has been 50 years since the original The Exorcist was released. That film took the world by storm and became a phenomenon with many accounts of people being so shocked and revolted by the film that there were reports of audiences fainting or walking out of the cinema unable to take it anymore! I took the opportunity to rewatch a remastered 4K edition of The Exorcist recently and found it to be just as impactful today as it was 50 years ago. The film spawned several sequels and even a TV series but sadly none of them lived up to the original.
Now, 50 years later, Hollywood has decided to reboot the series once again with this new entry that proposed to be yet another bonafide sequel to the original degrading all the other sequels and TV series before it. Universal Studies even paid a whopping USD 400 million to acquire rights to begin a new franchise series! Unfortunately for them, The Exorcist: Believer is not giving the come-back attempt a good start.
For one thing, the story feels contrived. It starts off well with the introduction of one of the eventually possessed girls, which was presented in a no nonsense true to life manner. However, this soon turned out to be feel dragged out without any interesting thrills to keep the viewers awake. When the possession and exorcism finally come, the plot had already progressively become more and more unrealistic, making our patience run dry. It is surprises me that after 50 years the shock elements employed here has not only not improved but actually deteriorated. We have the same old ideas rehashed abate in a less effective manner. Even the so-called foul language uttered by the possessed felt mild compared to the original. The exorcism performed here by a team of poorly developed characters, were unintentionally laughable. It is never a good sign for a horror movie when its supposedly terrifying scenes make you laugh in disbelief rather than hide behind your hands.
Ellen Burstyn who reprises her role as the mother of the original possessed girl Regan, provides the only ray of light in an otherwise trainwreck of a movie. It was great to see her again but alas, her character has been diminished into someone quite unbelievable. It makes little sense why her character has suddenly become an expert in exorcism by writing a book about Regan’s possession. She doesn’t even believe in any religion in the first place and yet, we are supposed to believe she has done extensive research on the subject to qualify herself as the expert. Anyway, her involvement in the exorcism in this movie was absurd. Also ludicrous was how ineffective the priest was in this movie. His character was very poorly developed and comes across as very one dimensional.
Poor story? Check. Bad acting? Check. Nothing original in the scare department? Check. All in all, nothing here to make me want to watch any more exorcism movies in the future.