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The Student News Site of Buena High School

Buena Speaks

The Student News Site of Buena High School

Buena Speaks

‘The Exorcist: Believer’ possesses the theaters for yet another sequel

Iris McDermott

The Exorcist franchise’s new addition, “The Exorcist: Believer,” hit the movie theaters Oct. 6, 2023, produced by Blumhouse and distributed by Universal for nationwide viewing, it is primarily available in theaters and is pay-to-watch on Prime and Apple TV.

Since its release, the movie has received a 22 percent critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 59 percent audience score. It has been the first movie sequel since the prequel, “Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist,” which premiered in theaters in 2005.

Despite being an attempt to revert back to the original film’s roots, the movie received a rather low score on Rotten Tomatoes, by the critics on the Tomatometer as well as through the audience score.

The sequel’s story follows a widower, Victor (Leslie Odom Jr.), and his daughter, Angela (Lydia Jewett). The plot kicks off by Angela disappearing into the woods accompanied by her friend, Katherine (Olivia O’Neill). Victor, along with Katherine’s parents, anxiously set off into the woods in search of their missing children.

When Angela and Katherine return three days later with no memory of what happened to them, they begin to act unlike their normal selves. Victor becomes desperate for answers on the mysterious evil puppeteering of his daughter, and looks toward the survivor of the first installment of the series, Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn).

Ellen Burstyn’s character has become a best seller by sharing her story of witnessing an exorcism through her book, as well as becoming well known by various television interviews. This came at the cost of her daughter not speaking to her as she did not want to be included in her book.

This sequel serves not exactly as a continuation of the series, but rather a fresh start within the universe. Chris passed down the torch to Victor as the new lead for the movie series, which set the path to a trilogy involving Believer within the Exorcist franchise.

Leslie Odom Jr does a decent job of portraying a grieving widower, who very clearly loved his wife, and puts his all into loving his daughter as well. His portrayal of Victor sets a clear display of fear and dismay towards the transformation of his daughter and a strong urge to rid his daughter of her evil spirit.

Both Lydia Jewett and Olivia O’Neill act out the rebellious teenager role, as well as the demonic entity that becomes of them, in a similarly great manner. Lydia especially adds to the charm of a saddened daughter that yearns to talk to her mother any way she can.

Katherine’s parents, Norbert Leo Butz and Jennifer Nettles, serve as an introduction to the overarching theme of religious faith ventured throughout the movie. In this movie, their set belief in an evil spirit ridding them of their daughters shines light onto the movie’s overall conflict.

‘Believer’ is very character-heavy and an emotionally driven story overall. The drama definitely overpowered the horror most of the film.”

Generally, the movie is very drama heavy, and the drama is played out well. It is easy to resonate with the characters’ burdens and sorrows as well as . Their pain recalling their loved ones or memories is very apparent in their facial expressions  and voices.

The degradation of the girls’ humane state, while a bit silly, is very grotesque and squirm-worthy. It is unsettling seeing them become almost unrecognizable by the movie’s climax.

Overall, “Believer” has a quite plentiful balance of drama and body horror. By itself, the movie can be enjoyed, however the faith theme was overdone at  several points of the movie. Nonetheless, the sentiment of equality in faith, as well as the grieving of loved ones, is very appreciated.

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About the Contributor
Iris McDermott, Staff Writer
Iris McDermott is a senior at BHS and is in her first year at Buena Speaks. She has been drawing and writing for many years creatively and seeks to expand her work ethics and capabilities through journalism. She enjoys many hobbies such as playing video games, doing chores, going on walks, and listening to music.

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