David Gordon Green’s The Exorcist Believer has just been released in the cinema. It has been getting terrible reviews (Including my own Here). But the question is, why is the movie as bad as it actually is? How could one of the most popular horror movies of all time end up turning out yet another dud of a sequel? While I know The Exorcist 3 has gained a cult following, the rest of the movies are not spoken remotely positively about.
Today I am going to look at a few factors that went wrong. This isn’t going to be ripping the movie apart, more of a studio of what could have been better and what I truly believed caused the negative outcome.
THERE WILL BE FULL SPOILERS IN THE ARTICLE.
What Went WrongWith The Exorcist Believer?
1 – Haitian Opening
The opening sequence of the movie sees Victor and his pregnant wife vacationing in Haiti. However, their perfect vacation turns tragic when Sorenne is trapped in an earthquake leaving Victor with an impossible choice. We don’t learn what he picked until the final act of the movie and for an opening sequence, this is a strong start. It shows a father who lost his love but raised his teenage daughter well. Now, this is a brilliant opening and could easily have let evil in, it doesn’t seem to be the catalyst.
This makes me feel like we had another script that would explore more of a connection with Haitian beliefs. It feels like this would have been non-connected to the Exorcist franchise and given us a fresh exorcism movie.
2 – MacNeil Wasted Potential
When the legacy franchise became the new term, it meant bringing back the biggest star to the franchise for added views. Halloween could get away with because we have seen Jamie Lee Curtis return before. However, the Exorcist franchise didn’t need to drag Chris MacNeil character back into the film. She would know how to handle a possession but make generic rookie mistakes when trying to make contact.
I feel this is a waste because they basically mutilate her for shock value instead of creating a strong reason to bring her back. Her reappearance does very little to the main plot of the movie, despite Ellen Burstyn giving a strong performance with what she has to do. Then we add in the final scene of the movie, which is more for fan service and nothing more.
3 – Cheap Jump Scares
One of the most noticeable decisions in this movie is jump scares. There are way too many and a lot of stuff happening that doesn’t even make sense for jump scares. We get a lot of cuts to somebody slamming a door or a draw, which makes you jump for no reason. There is also a host of sequences with flashes of horror images that make zero sense to the movie. It is a perfect exercise on how to lazily make jump scares.
4 – The Other Family
The movie makes the decision to have two families dealing with a possession. While it does tie together to see them left with an ultimate choice. It doesn’t seem to put any focus on the other family other than, they are Christian. If it was so important to have both families involved, we needed more about the second family. This becomes more noticeable because of how much focus is placed on Victor and Angela’s backstory.
5 – Doesn’t Land the Shock End
The movie has a couple of shocking moments in the closing sequences of the movie. First, we get the ‘Drag to Hell’ image for one of the girls. This is a surprise to see, however, it ends up feeling more confusing because we haven’t had a single hint of this happening. The second surprise in the ending is the reconnection of Regan coming to see her mother for the first time in decades. This ends up feeling more like fan service than a scene that makes any sense to what we just watch.
6 – The Possession Sequence
The Exorcist concept focuses on giving us disturbing sequences during an exorcism. However, this movie just looks to replay the popular moments instead of being brave enough to shock us. The early one-on-one moments don’t do much. While the closing joint exorcism has moments but never feels like the demon is ever in complete control. It also feels a lot more confusing because it wants to mix certain beliefs but never pushes them through to become the dominant one.
These are just a few things I feel went wrong with The Exorcist Believer. What do you think went wrong with his movie?