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The Exorcist: Believer tells the story of Tanner Fielding (Leslie Odom, Jr.) and his daughter Angela (Lidya Jewett) who live in a quaint town where he works as a photographer and she is a normal high school student. Years after Tanner’s wife dies, a mother that Angela never knew, Angela yearns to connect with her. She goes through her mother’s things and finds items she can use to feel closer to her mom but she wanted to get even closer. One day after school, with her friend Katherine, Angela wanders into the woods to find a quiet place to “speak” to her mom. Believing that with a clear mind, an open heart and with the strong faith in God that her friend Katherine holds, she could finally reach her mother and gain a sense of belonging with her that she so desperately needs. Instead, though, the girls contacted an entity that would forever shatter their beliefs and reality.
There is a strong desire to compare this film to its 1973 predecessor so let’s get that out of the way right now. The Exorcist is a horror classic. Some would even say it was the film that all other possession films that come after should model. The Exorcist: Believer was made to be a direct sequel to the original, ignoring all other films in the franchise. There were several major differences between the original and this current film. One being that there were two possessed girls instead of just the one. I feel as if the filmmakers really loved the original and tried to pay homage to it while also giving it their own touch and adding different elements; making it modern. I think they went in the right direction. Another difference in this film, in my opinion, was that there was way more emphasis put on religion this time. Although the Fieldings were not heavy church goers or believers in God, which I can only imagine stems from what happened to Angela’s mother, all those surrounding them seemed to be. Angela’s friend Katherine as well as her family attended church regularly. Tanner’s neighbor Ann was an almost nun who although didn’t seem like the religious type did play an integral part leading up to and at the climax of the film. As well as Tanner’s friend Stuart who was a parishioner as well as a believer in non-conventional faith.
Kudos to casting on this flick! The acting was top notch. Leslie Odom, Jr. convincingly portrayed a grieving, protective father who would do anything to make sure their child was safe. Lidya Jewett and Olivia O’Neill (who portrays Katherine) were frightening! I thought it was a great idea to partner these young ladies up. Well done! Also, was pleased to see Ellen Burstyn reprise her role as Chris MacNeil who since coming out of the horror that was her daughter’s possession has researched exorcisms in various cultures and has written a memoir detailing her experiences. She plays a pivotal role in helping Tanner navigate through this journey with his daughter. Chris knows all too well the horror that awaits Tanner, and those girls. I also love Ann Dowd (who portrays Ann). She’s just good in everything she’s in I think.
For me the story was strong and frightening. This movie is a must see if you’re into possession horror. There are several shocking moments and also the ending in this is a real thrill. I saw this in the theater and screamed. The Exorcist: Believer is currently on VOD.
Wife, mother, horror lover, podcaster. I review movies for the love of horror.