REVIEW | The Exorcist: Believers – Evil incarnated in us all

The Exorcist: Believers
The Exorcist: Believers

In 1973 the world stopped before terror, and it did so with some light sounds of piano and the figure of a priest with a hat in front of the dark doors of a family house that harbored a dark secret. While a desperate mother tried to understand what was happening to her daughter, viewers tried to understand how a film could penetrate so deeply into the most horrifying thoughts of existence.

In 1973 it premiered The Exorcist.

When Angela and her friend Katherine disappear into the woods, returning three days later with no memory of what happened to them, a chain of events is unleashed that will force Victor to confront the underbelly of evil. (Universal Pictures)

The genetic structure of The Exorcist It is based on three defined vectors: Linda Blair as the protagonist, William Friedkin as the director and William Peter Blatty like the screenwriter. Each of these three elements managed to synchronize to give birth to an essential of the seventh art.

It all started in 1971 when William Peter Blatty edited in literary format The Exorcist, this book was based on a true story that he had been studying since he was at University; The Washington Post supposedly reported in 1949 about a boy who had to undergo several exorcisms in a short period of time.

Blatty and Friedkin They went out to find financing for the film, which was a complicated undertaking. Then, due to creative differences, they ended up distancing themselves during filming. A filming that, as everyone knows, suffered from different vicissitudes that enter the sphere of the supernatural.

Linda Blair It was a complex choice, since all the action fell on it; If it didn’t work, so would the movie. And it was also necessary to take care of her psychologically, they were very violent situations for a twelve-year-old girl. For this they surrounded her with renowned actors with a profession such as Ellen Burstyn and Max Von Sydow.

The film was an absolute success, it had its “director’s” version and is still a source of reference today despite what is known about its filming and the experiences in it. It resulted in sequels and even a television series.

The Exorcist: Believers (Universal Pictures)
The Exorcist: Believers (Universal Pictures)

The sequels had various problems as well. It seemed that “the curse”As a result of having played with the forces of hell, it happened as if it were The call (The Ring2002) to the next generation.

The Exorcist II: the heretic (Exorcist II: The Heretic, 1977) is released a few years later and once again has Regan as the protagonist. She is 17 years old and appears to have repressed the memories of what happened, so she works at a psychiatric institute in New York. As a professional and a priest try to connect with what’s inside her mind, everything starts to get strange. Here it is explained that Regan has some abilities that were the reason for possessing her.

The Exorcist III (The Exorcist III1990), was another controversial film because it was going to be called Legion (based on the book of the same name written by William Peter Blatty) but the name was reformulated by the producers to make it more salable to the public and they added the director (who was also Blatty) an exorcism that was not in the original story. It takes place 17 years after the first and barely dismisses what happened in the second.

In the new millennium it appears. The Exorcist: the beginning (Exorcist: The Beginning2004) was to be directed by Paul Schrader But the producers thought he was “uncommercial,” so they fired him and brought in Renny Harlin. The film tells the past of Father Lankester Merrin (this time played by Stellan Skarsgård) in Cairo in the late 1940s. The film was an absolute failure, so they called again Schrader which a year later released its version Dominion: Exorcist Prequel (Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist), the result? Again a failure. There is also a 2016 series with two seasons.

The Exorcist: Believers (Universal Pictures)
The Exorcist: Believers (Universal Pictures)

In the latest iteration of scream It talks about the concept of “recoil“, a kind of hybrid between remake and sequel. In this type of stories, the aim is to inoculate a saga with fresh blood by making a clean slate and starting from scratch for a new audience, but at the same time maintaining certain canonical characters or events from the classic saga.

The last great example was given by the movie Halloween (2018), which, returning to the parameters of the original from 1978, once again put Jamie Lee Curtis between the protagonists, but it erased all the films (and there were many) that were in sequel mode in the years following ’78. The renewed story gave rise to a new trilogy that was completed with Halloween Kills: The night is not over yet (Halloween Kills2021) and Halloween: the final night (Halloween Ends, 2022). The director of this new trilogy was David Gordon Green which now does the same for The Exorcist.

And this is one of the few problems with the movie. The Exorcist: Believers: With two more films already confirmed, reaching the end everything begins to be arbitrarily arranged for a sequel, blurring what has been achieved up to that point.

The Exorcist: Believers (Universal Pictures)
The Exorcist: Believers (Universal Pictures)

The protagonists in The Exorcist: Believers They are Angela (Lidya Jewett) and Kate (Olivia O’Neill), two girls who decide to perform a ritual to connect with the dead, disappear for three days and appear with no memories of what happened and with burned feet.

Angela’s father, Victor Fielding (Leslie Odom Jr.) is a widower since his wife had an accident days before giving birth, and this led him to a situation of impossible decision. Of course he is agnostic. Kate’s parents, played by Danny McCarthy and Jennifer Nettles They are the typical believers who go to church every weekend.

When everything begins to resemble a demonic possession, two variables open up: the appearance of Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) -link with the original film-, and a search through various religions to find the salvation of these two lost souls.

This is one of the strongest points of the film, each of the different visions of faith are well represented, and at the time of the exorcism they will all be present, forming a kind of superheroic team of religion, the Avengers of Faith.

The Exorcist: believers
The Exorcist: believers

The Exorcist: Believers It complies correctly with the rules, it has a beginning with a lot of emphasis on presenting the characters well because above all things this is a story that needs us to empathize with them and worry about their future.

Intelligently everything focuses more on Angela and her father, but as the film progresses Katherine and her parents begin to take on more relevance.

The editing, the sound universe, the photography, the performances… everything is very well executed, managing to introduce us strongly to what is happening; with a fragmentation in certain moments of the story that disjoin and at the same time enhance what happens next.

The figure of the demon is very blurred, it could be Pazuzu but there is no reason explicit enough to confirm it. The connection through Chris MacNeil It is very intelligent and allows Regan’s figure to hover in the shot even though she is not present; Burstyn imprints its experience and presence, it is the Jamie Lee Curtis this “recoil”.

The problem occurs reaching the end of the third act, where certain elements are arbitrarily arranged in an accelerated and somewhat clumsy manner to leave everything ready to continue in two more films. In addition, credibility is broken a bit through some rarely resolved visual effects from both the script and the image. It’s annoying, since the artifice is visible, and we were witnessing a sincere and effective story that could have worked as such in a single film.

But despite this, we are facing another great premiere of modern horror cinema. A film that can become a great excuse to go with friends or a partner at night and have a good time having a bad time, on that roller coaster that is going to the movies, to feel how our senses react to the purest horror in a controlled environment.

Long live that beautiful feeling.

A new exorcismReally very correct, The Exorcist: Believers blurs towards the end, arbitrarily arranging some elements for its two already confirmed sequels. Terror guaranteed.


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