“The Exorcist: Believer” – do you believe in ghosts?

“What an excellent day for an exorcism.” – “The Exorcist” (1973).

Starting off October strong, “The Exorcist: Believer” has set high standards for scary films to come this Halloween season. 

The film starts out with giving the audience some emotional background which sets the scene for what’s to come; we see two girls walking into the woods after a day of school. What could go wrong? Lots. Throughout the story, the innocent girls get consumed by evil/unholy spirits which cause the girls to literally rot from the inside out. 

From familiar horror production studios such as Blumhouse Productions and Morgan Creek Entertainment (a company which has worked on several previous “Exorcist” films), audiences got a sickening dose of nostalgia in the sixth film of the series. This includes, but is not limited to, projectile vomiting, demonic profanity and 360 head spins (kind of). 

We watch several characters intervene in attempts to save the girls. One familiar face, Ellen Burstyn, reprised her role as Chris MacNeil (the mother in the 1973 “The Exorcist”) and blindly became a victim to the evil spirits. Ann Dowd, who played the nurse next door with a religious past, can be recognized for her role in the hit horror film “Hereditary.” Lastly, the father of one of the demon children, played by Leslie Odom Jr. (also seen in “Knives Out,” “Glass Onion” and “Hamilton”), did a great job playing a fearful father trying to save all he had left. 

Olivia O’Neil and Lydia Jewett played their roles as demonic besties frighteningly well. 

I really enjoyed this film! The scares made me jump and the plot unfolded with chilling undertones. One thing which fascinated me was the use of emotion, religion and spirituality as a means of layering the story. Right from the get-go there is symbolism of aggression, but this is met with a contrasting sense of life and positivity. This sort of contrast, which also applies to the religious and spiritual aspects of the story, made for something thrilling and impactful. My only qualm with it is how similar it was to the original; sequels can be challenging but some fresh plot points could have brought this to the next level.

Overall, I would give “The Exorcist: Believer” four out of five spooky ghosts. 

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