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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Review: ‘The Exorcist: Believer’

Art+critic+Abby+Jarrett+says+%26%238220%3BThe+Exorcist%3A+Believer%26%238221%3B+will+leave+you+wanting+more%2C+but+not+in+a+good+way.
Poster via IMDb

Art critic Abby Jarrett says “The Exorcist: Believer” will leave you wanting more, but not in a good way.

Rating: 4/10

You know the feeling when you’re holding a balloon, but then you accidentally let go and it floats away into a tree and pops? That’s how I felt watching “The Exorcist: Believer.” Overall, this attempt at a horror movie gets a 4/10. 

Spoilers ahead for “The Exorcist: Believer.”

“The Exorcist: Believer” is the first of a planned trilogy of sequels following the original 1973 “The Exorcist,” one of my all-time favorite horror films. If the following movies are anything like “Believer,” director David Gordon Green is in for a rocky ride. Since this is a sequel, there are a few references and old cast members in the movie who you might not recognize or understand if you have not seen the original. 

The opening scene contains a warning of flashing lights, graphic depictions and loud noises that may be sensitive for viewers. I thought that with this warning would come the most terrifying horror movie I had ever seen. Instead, I almost fell asleep within the first hour. 

For almost two hours, the story follows two girls, Angela and Katherine, after they start to show signs of demonic possession after a seance in the woods to summon Angela’s deceased mother. After the seance is performed, the girls go missing for a total of three days and turn up with mangled feet, a fowl rotting smell and snake-like eyes. None of this actually happens until about 45 minutes into the film, so the plot setup consists of the past: Angela’s dad, how her mother died and the choices he had to make as a single dad. More than slightly boring, if you ask me. 

As the two girls’ parents finally realize that their children are possessed by Satan himself, they seek answers from Chris MacNeil, an original cast member in “The Exorcist,” or the mother of Regan, the possessed child in the original movie. 

While the connection to the original movie was interesting, I found that the new cast and story of “Believer” placed too much of the plot in the hands of MacNeil. The two possessed girls had very little screen time compared to MacNeil and her backstory with Regan, with the movie serving more as a summary than a sequel. 

Within the last 30 minutes of the movie, Angela and Katherine’s families decide to hold an exorcism with multiple religious leaders’ help. Despite a tremendous amount of blood vomiting and foul language and references, the scene was not the scariest exorcism movie I’ve watched. If you have seen the exorcism that takes place in 2013’s “The Conjuring,” it’s on par with that — a solid 5/10 fear level. At the end of the exorcism, Satan begins to speak through the girls and gives the parents a choice: Choose one girl, or both will die. 

There were so many opportunities for a major plot twist, epic fight scene during the exorcism or some religious message to be explained, but instead, it was exactly how you would expect it to end. They chose one girl, and the other died. Giving some credit to the writers of this movie, the weak attempt at a plot twist was made. 

After the parents chose Katherine to live and condemned Angela to death, Katherine’s parents were then punished for making a choice. After Katherine was released from her possession for mere minutes while Angela lay dead in her father’s arms, Katherine then collapsed dead and Angela was brought back to life. This plot twist gets a 2/10. I expected so much more from the sequel to an epic horror classic. 

If you’re looking for a horror movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat expecting a lot of jump scares and scary visuals but will leave you incredibly bored and disappointed, this is your movie. I enjoyed following the plot line and learning more about the story and characters’ backgrounds; “The Exorcist: Believer” shouldn’t have been marketed as a horror film, but instead a drama.

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