In just a short time, The Exorcist: Believer will be released. The much-anticipated film, directed by David Gordon Green who previously directed the most recent Halloween trilogy. This installment will also continue the theme of eliminating all previous sequels and continuing where the original left off, many years later.
When it was first announced that a new Exorcist movie was in the works, the reaction wasn’t all too positive. After all, The Exorcist is a classic and said by many to be one of if not the best horror movie of all time. Also, many people believed this was going to be a remake and there are just certain movies that shouldn’t be remade.
When more news was announced and people discovered that this was going to be a continuation, it seemed that people were warming up to the idea. Ellen Burstyn is back. The makeup has a throwback feel. The story seems interesting. The only issue is that we already got a great Exorcist continuation.
In 2016 it was announced that a television series based on The Exorcist was coming out. Similar to the new film, people did not know what to think. An Exorcist TV show? Why?
People didn’t know what it was and the fact that it was going to be shown on FOX didn’t help. The Exorcist is a dark, controversial, terrifying property. Not something people want to watch on the same network that American Idol is on. These reasons and more are why the show didn’t last. It’s really a shame because the Exorcist television show is excellent.
The show is a true continuation and takes place in modern day. We get many references to Regan, her mother, the demon Pazuzu, and much more.
The story follows Angela. A mother who is active in her community and her church. Her daughter starts acting differently and with each day that passes by, things seem to be getting worse. Angela reaches out to Father Thomas, an up-and-coming priest who has been noticed by the church. Angela is sure there is a demon in her house after her daughter and she needs help. Father Thomas is skeptical at first until he starts dreaming about another priest that he must find to help with all that is going on. Horrific things keep happening and there may even be a religious cult in the mix.
What really works?
The thing that this show does really well is not fully rely on nostalgia. Like I said, we do get callbacks and references but the strongest part are the new characters and the fresh story.
The scares in this are also top-notch. I was pleasantly surprised with how much FOX was pushing the envelope. The show doesn’t just have jump scares but it has plenty of creative psychological scares. They explain that someone doesn’t simply get possessed, they have to want it in a way.
The demon in this is shown at first to be a trusting, friendly individual. He preys on Angela’s daughter Casey due to her loneliness and sadness. Comforting her when she needed someone.
In the original Exorcist, we get glimpses of Pazuzu, the demon who possessed Regan. We don’t see or hear him whispering in Regan’s ear. This show gives us this and it is such a refreshing choice. As Casey gets more and more possessed and her body starts to deteriorate, the demon becomes more controlling and mean. His clothes start shredding as well as his skin. There are many layers and messages of addiction and guilt that are done wonderfully here.
When there needs to be quieter, more calm scenes, the writing and dialogue shine. When there needs to be more frightening scenes, the creativity shines. We also get plenty of twists and turns throughout to keep us on the edge of our seats and entertained.
You would almost think that with an Exorcist show on FOX, you could phone it in and call it a day. The acting here is truly fantastic. There were times I stopped and actually thought, “Why is this so good?” Gina Davis plays Angela. She is very convincing as a mother who will do anything for her child. She knows something is wrong and because not many people believe her she almost doesn’t know where to go and who to turn to.
The two actors who play Father Thomas and Father Marcus are the standouts. One is a priest who is struggling with if he chose the right path and the other is a disgraced priest who has lost his faith. Both of these guys give it their all in every scene and give some of the best performances that I have seen in a while.
Credit also has to go out to Hannah Kasulka and Alan Ruck. Hannah plays the possessed daughter and she has a lot to do and go through. The physical movements as well as the acting with all the makeup on really come through. Alan Ruck plays the husband and father. He is truly the glue of the family. He keeps calm and tries to figure things out while dealing with a previous brain injury at the same time.
The Exorcist show did not have many viewers but still got a second season because of how it was. Critics and audiences who saw it loved it overall. The second season is just as strong and goes deeper into the lore. Unfortunately, after two seasons, the show got the axe. Appreicaying is slowiy growing more and more these days.
The Exorcist: Believer could be great. David Gordon Green’s Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends were not received very well. Many felt they were unnecessary, convoluted, and didn’t add much to the franchise. This director has done good work in the past but there is a bit of trepidation when it feels like we are getting the same thing.
A sequel continuing directly from the original? Check! A trilogy planned? Check! There are two more movies planned after this new one. The second one even has a title. The Exorcist: Deceiver. I guess we are rhyming now.
Honestly, the film could end up being a big hit. I am curious and hopeful about it. What I am even more hopeful for is that people discover this show after watching the new movie.
The Exorcist TV series is way better than it ever had any right to be. The performances, makeup, acting and set pieces are all fantastic here. The references feel natural and there are many creative genuine scares and surprises that I definitely did not expect. I would go as far as to say this show is probably the best Exorcist-related property since the original film. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
The Exorcist TV series is available now to stream on Hulu.