Resurrected Requel “The Exorcist: Believer” is Head-Spinningly Bad

The latest tepid incarnation of the half century spanning Exorcist movie saga is doubly damned in that it purports to change the course of a flimsy franchise that has never once matched the shocking original film and that David Gordon Green, fresh from his diminishing returns directing of a Halloween series reboot, is somehow up to the challenge of staking a claim of this devilish house of hellfire horror tropes to captivate a new generation. With the leaden The Exorcist: Believer (D), he neither serves up any nifty nostalgia nor provides any relevant new hot take. Frankly, the reason for this story’s existence is about as clear as pea soup. In the room where a few supernatural things happen, Leslie Odom Jr. makes insufficient impact as a widowed dad in a rural Georgia town whose tween daughter (Lidya Jewett) goes missing and comes back hissing. After almost building a credible amber alert procedural, Green bides time in the second hour with rubbery demon effects and little sets of deadened eyes that would make Polar Express characters’ heads spin. The filmmakers employ the notion that it takes an interfaith village to cure the tween and her similarly possessed friend (Olivia O’Neill) by throwing a cowardly priest (E.J. Bonilla), a holistic healer (Okwui Okpokwasili), a wannabe nun (Ann Dowd), another parent (Jennifer Nettles) and a parade of grassroots DIY warriors at the possession problem. None of the cast makes much impression, and even having O.G. star Ellen Burstyn burst in to the proceedings can’t penetrate the pall that’s hanging over this dull episode. Unanswered questions ranging from why the movie’s opening takes place in Haiti to ultimately why any of it takes place at all, are in abundance. Lousy effects and a plodding pace set the stage for the realization it’s not even scary. Banish this curious cash grab from your must-see queue.

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