Dir: David Gordon Green | Cast: Leslie Odom, Jr., Ann Dowd, Jennifer Nettles, Norbert Leo Butz, Lidya Jewett, Olivia O’Neill and Ellen Burstyn | US Horror 111′
Exactly 50 years ago this autumn, the most terrifying horror film in history landed on screens, shocking audiences around the world. Sadly The Exorcist: Believer is not a patch on the original just an attempt to attract a ‘younger audience’ by garnering traction from William Friedkin’s far superior outing.
In this often ludicrous ‘sequel’ Angela (Lidya Jewett) plays the girl, and the single parent is Victor (Leslie Odom Jr), a photographer who refuses to allow his daughter to play with her friend Katherine (O’Neill) during downtime. And he’s not stupid, because after school the two girls secretly sneak off to the nearby woods to stage a seance in the hope of contacting Angela’s late mother. Days later they reappear having no memory of their ill-judged escapade.
David Gordon Green certainly succeeds visually, character and mood wise: his horror film is subtly sinister and supernatural in its autumn settings and all goes well until midday through when the project nosedives: it’s as if Gordon Green has taken leave of his own senses possessed by the producers to churn out yet another franchise.
Victor decides to track down the only person he knows with any experience of the previous affair, and – back for another turn – it’s Ellen Burstyn, as splendid as she was in the 1973 original. Thence the film loses its way and its new plot lines in a melodramatic maelstrom of jump scares, speeches and sentimentality. The master Friedkin will be turning in his grave.
OUT IN UK CINEMAS FROM 6 OCTOBER 2023