‘The Exorcist: Believer’ Insults Original Film, Blames The “Damn Patriarchy” For Chris MacNeil Not Witnessing Regan’s Exorcism
In a moment of screenwriting ripped straight from the trash bin of many a college English class, The Exorcist: Believer has been found to feature a scene wherein returning Chris MacNeil blames the “damn patriarchy” for the fact that she was barred from witnessing her daughter’s exorcism in the series’ original film.
Helmed by Halloween reboot trilogy and Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green, Believer centers on the story of Angela Fielding (Lidya Jewett) and her best friend Katherine, two young girls who find themselves possessed by Lamashtu, an ancient Sumerian demon who specifically preyed upon birthing mothers and their children.
At a loss for how to deal with his daughter’s condition, Angela’s father, Victor (Leslie Odom Jr.), eventually seeks advice from Chris (as portrayed in both the original and Believer by actress Ellen Burstyn) who in the years since the events of The Exorcist has become a world-famous name in the field of exorcisms and demonology.
The moment in question, as shared by Twitter user @JonsLongs, occurs amidst Chris and Victor’s first in-person meeting.
Recalling her harrowing experience to the troubled father, Chris reveals to Victor, “I never saw the exorcism. They wouldn’t let me.”
In turn asked by Victor “Why not?”, Chris asserts, “My opinion? Because I’m not a member of their damn patriarchy.”
Unfortunately for Green, this attempt at grade-school level social commentary falls flat when compared against the actual events of The Exorcist.
As seen in William Friedkin’s horror classic, Chris was never explicitly barred from entering the room in which Regan was being treated, but rather voluntarily chose to avoid witnessing the proceedings.
To this end, there are two major factors at play which influence Chris’ decision to avert her eyes from her daughter’s exorcism.
The first is the fact that, despite her daughter’s current situation, Chris still loves and cares for Regan.
The second is the that Chris is not herself qualified to perform the rite, and thus, as per the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, her potential assistance in the act would be limited to either serving as a passive observer, holding her daughter still or, only with the explicit permission of a given exorcist, reciting specifically designated minor prayers.
With limited options to provide assistance and wishing to avoid seeing Regan, who at this point in the film had just self-mutilated herself with a crucifix, suffer any further, it comes as no surprise that Chris would ultimately opt to stay out of her daughter’s room in favor of just letting Father Karras, Merrin, and Dyers do their work.