‘The Exorcist: Believer’ Review – A Biblically Illiterate Disaster
Several years ago, I was one an early adopter regarding the use of the term ‘woke reboot‘ to describe Hollywood’s continuing attempts to take their known and classic properties and ‘update’ them to more ‘modern standards’.
At the time, I had hoped that my use of the term would eventually die out. That didn’t happen, and instead we ended up here: A woke reboot of one of the most beloved horror classics of all time.
Right now, it seems Hollywood believes that we’re in the middle of a horror renaissance, mainly because so many of the studios’ new, cheaply-made horror films are one of the few genres that still manages to turn a profit.
But here’s the thing: These movies are making that money due to their low production costs, not their quality.
Of course, the studios don’t realize this. Instead, they’ve become convinced that horror genre, along with its most memorable franchises, is the next cultural ground ripe for subversion.
So, how did The Exorcist: Believer make itself more ‘progressive-friendly’ according to the current year? Surprise, by watering down its Christian identity and make sure it meets all the approrpriate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion requirements.
Actually, I take that back. What’s actually surprising about this entire disaster is that, after paying $400 million dollars for the franchise rights, Universal Pictures expects Believer to be the first in a brand-new trilogy.
I don’t think that is going to happen.
This particular woke reboot opens on the story of Victor Fielding (Leslie Odom Jr.), a photographer who for some reason thought that it was a smart idea to go to Haiti in order for his wife Sorenne (Tracey Graves) to receiving a “blessing” from a voodoo practitioner – and yet, somehow, he’s shocked when a massive earthquake breaks out almost immediately afterward, which in turn results in Sorenne’s death.
Fast forward 13-years and Victor is now at odds with God (even though he was the one who sought out witchcraft in the first place). At the same time, deciding to follow in the footsteps of her father, Victor’s daughter Angela (Lidya Jewett) agrees to join her friend Katherine (Olivia O’Neill) in performing a witchcraft ritual of their own.
And surprise, it goes wrong almost immediately! Like father, like daughter.
After going missing for a few days following the ritual before eventually being found in a comatose state, the girls’ families begin to realize that something has changed about them.Specifically, after managing to somehow open a portal to Hell, the two girls are now possessed by a demon hellbent on terrorising them and everyone else in their lives.
With the two girls living in immediate danger, Victor must figure out a way to exercise the demon before their souls are lost forever.
Folks, films like this are the exact reason why people don’t feel bad that some of the Hollywood writers may have lost their homes during the recent strike.
I fully understand that many of the secular audience readers of this review are going to miss a lot of the religious undertones of this movie, but as someone who is more biblically sound, this film is a facepalm-inducing headache in more ways than I can fathom.
The original The Exorcist was pretty straightforward and based on a simple premise: A little girl gets possessed by a demon and it takes a team of Catholic priests and their ‘demon exercising powers’ to save the girl and give peace to their family.But because it’s 2023 and everything has to produced through a progressive lens, Believer does away with the franchise’s strict focus on Christianity in favor of the Universalist idea that all religions are valid and lead to righteousness.
This does not work in the context of a film about demons.
Like I said before, The Exorcist: Believer only makes sense to someone who is biblically illiterate. The fact that our protagonist would even attend a voodoo ritual as he is masquerading as a follower of Christianity exposes the fact that the writers in question have no clue about the religion’s fundamentals principles.
What makes this entire thing even dumber is the fact that the film actually tries to create an Avengers-style-superteam featuring representatives from every faith in order to the fight the demon.
It was at this point I became convinced that someone slamming their forehead into a keyboard to the point where they passed out due to brain damage would have resulted in a better written script than what we got from Peter Sattler and David Gordon Green.
Like most modern horror movies, The Exorcist: Believer is a generic tale with generic effects that ends up invoking a very generic response from its audience.
You would think NBC Universal had learned its lesson about allowing Green to creative control over a horror franchise after his Halloween trilogy only infuriated more fans than it satisfied, but Believer – as well as the fact that, as of this writing, they’re planning on doing a Halloween television reboot – proves that Hollywood continues to learn not a single thing from its past failures.
Let’s just put it this way: Not only is the line about the Catholic church and the patriarchy far from the dumbest thing this film has to offer, but its bringing back of legacy characters just to foolishly disrespect them with bad writing is low on the totem pole of problems this film has.
Everything about this film is fundamentally stupid.