They’ve waited 50 years and now it’s happening... 'The Exorcist' joins the frustratingly long (funeral) parade of classic horror movies getting legacy sequels with 'The Exorcist: Believer'. The trailer is out, and it looks like demonic doo-doo.
Fifty years after William Friedkin’s landmark horror film The Exorcistterrorized audiences, the trailer for a new instalment has arrived.
Original cast member Ellen Burstyn returns as Chris MacNeil for The Exorcist: Believer, a follow-up helmed by David Gordon Green, who recently revived the Halloween franchise.
The original film, beyond being one of the greatest films ever made, became the first horror film to earn a best picture nomination at the Oscars - taking home two trophies for best adapted screenplay and best sound. It spawned four sequels over the years, all of which were hot messes – except from 1990’s fascinating The Exorcist III: Legion.
The Exorcist: Believer forgoes the established chronology of the sequels, much like Green’s depressingly mediocre Halloween trilogy, and is set in the same continuity as the original film. Believer features not one, but two demonic girls who become possessed.
Here’s the official logline:
“Since the death of his pregnant wife in a Haitian earthquake 12 years ago, Victor Fielding (Leslie Odom, Jr.) has raised their daughter, Angela (Lidya Jewett) on his own. But when Angela and her friend Katherine (Olivia Marcum), disappear in the woods, only to return three days later with no memory of what happened to them, it unleashes a chain of events that will force Victor to confront the nadir of evil and, in his terror and desperation, seek out the only person alive who has witnessed anything like it before: Chris MacNeil.”
Check out the trailer for yourself, and try not to curse the fact that Hollywood just can’t help itself when it comes to their creatively-barren horror renaissance tactic of tarnishing the legacy of perfect films because IPs need to be bled dry.
Sprinkle in as many snippets of 'Tubular Bells' as you want, this already looks like demonic doo-doo.
Granted, it’s wonderful to see the peerless Ellen Burstyn return as an older, wiser Chris MacNeil, and full judgement shall of course be reserved. You never know – this could be a worthy sequel and ends up surprising audiences. There is also a chance that this is one of those films whose potential is undersold by a particularly naff trailer.
However, on the strength of this recent advertising, it does look like every other snooze-worthy, cookiecutter exorcism / possession film we’ve seen countless times before.
No matter how much of a horror fan you are, and how open-minded you should remain until the film has actually been released and seen, scepticism is fully warranted given how quickly the trio of legacy sequel Halloweens nosedived in quality and how this looks like the massively overrated Green will be using nostalgia as a lazy crutch.
And as if the generic first images of this legacyquel to the iconic 1973 film wasn’t enough to make you side for the god of the southwestern wind Pazuzu, the evil entity that possesses Linda Blair's Regan MacNeil; Green and Universal / Blumhouse are planning a whole new trilogy, clearly (and predictably) following the rebooted Halloween template.
Universal has announced that a sequel, The Exorcist: Deceiver, will hit in theatres on 18 April 2025. No news on release date or title of the final chapter of the planned trilogy. The Exorcist: Redeemer? The Exorcist: Demonic Achiever? The Exorcist: Golden Retriever?
The Exorcist: Believer comes out on 13 October 2023.