Blumhouse Productions continues in its efforts to breath new life into older and sometimes forgotten franchises with The Exorcist: Believer. When the original Exorcist film came out in 1973 it set a new standard for what the medium was capable of in the way of scaring an audience. It was so effective it almost created a collective mass hysteria.
A lot of scary movies have been released since then and the audiences of today need a much bigger jolt to get the heart racing. Believer wisely avoids that arms race and instead delivers a heathy dose of nostalgia along with the thrills. This includes the return of Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil and a satisfying cameo that everyone will see coming.
In some way this newest edition ups the ante by featuring two young ladies who become possessed instead of just one. The two teens, Lidya Jewett as Angela and Olivia O’Neill as Katherine are just two normal kids until the devil comes a calling. Their transformations are quick and extreme. The films builds it structure and momentum on the exorcism, not the girl’s transformation.
With the emphasis building up to the clash between good and evil it needed a more robust ceremony to completely sell writer/director David Gordon Green’s vision. His past experience with the horror genre helming the Halloween franchise shows he’s more than capable of providing modern day thrills but this comes up a little short. It took him a few Halloween films to hit his stride and he’s inked in to do the next Exorcist and hopefully it follows his trajectory with those Michael Myers tales.