I like David Gordon Green as a filmmaker, he reminds me a bit of Richard Linklater, where you can’t really nail him down to just one genre.
David Gordon Green goes back and forth between serious dramas/thrillers like Undertow and silly comedies like Your Highness.
My favorite in his filmography is a movie called Joe, starring of course the great Nic Cage.
I guess most recently David Gordon Green is known for his new Halloween trilogy, which got very mixed reviews, especially Halloween Ends, which divided the fan base. You either loved it for trying something new, or you hated it, for trying something new.
I really enjoyed his take, as it was something different and a franchise that has done it all with countless sequels, reboots, remakes, it was a breath of fresh air to get something a little unexpected.
The same could be said about the Exorcist films, as possession movies have pretty much run the course of any kind of originality. I’ve never been a fan of these types of films, I think a lot relies on actually believing it this nonsense, so when you don’t and you see people taking it seriously, it comes off less as scary and more humorous.
So there’s room to improve the story of The Exorcist, as I never liked any of the movies or sequels. And at first, I wasn’t totally hating what I was watching when it came to the new entry Exorcist Believer.
It had that David Gordon Green seriousness a lot of his dramas/thrillers have. No silly characters like his Halloween movies that featured comic reliefs like Big John and Little John. Or a couple dicking around with a drone before getting slaughtered.
In fact, there really isn’t any slaughter at all in this movie. Not a whole lot happens in this 2 hour movie other than some eyes getting gouged out and a priest getting his neck twisted around like Regan famously did in the original.
And that’s pretty much it for a body count. That is if you count one of the little girls dying, which felt super bizarre and super cruel for no real reason.
I mean, honestly I have no clue as to why there were two possessed girls in the first place. It didn’t connect to anything, there was no payoff other than one dies. It’s like they didn’t want to just have a black girl possessed, so they added two for diversity.
Which is a whole other thing going on with this film as well. It’s very modern 2023. It can’t have the catholic church, no one likes them anymore. Especially if it involves kids. And we can’t leave anyone out, so it needs to be more inclusive and include all religions to not exclude anybody, so much like the hilarious Exorcist spoof film Repossessed, they bring in preachers from all religions to exorcise these girls.
It is absolutely hilarious and stupid at the same time. Snake handlers that talk in tongues? Sure, move aside voodoo lady named… I want to say Beehive?
The movie lacks David Gordon Green typical silly characters but it does feature his typical weirdos, like the random homeless person they waste time on and the religious nutjob next door neighbor that somehow introduces our lead to the voodoo priest, again possibly named Beehive.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s break down the story, this won’t take long as there really isn’t much story to be had.
We spend a good portion of this with Victor and his daughter Angela. Angela’s mother Sorenne died before she could meet her, in a terrible earthquake in Haiti. But not before getting spit on by a voodoo priestess to help protect her unborn baby.
Which ends up working a bit too well, as Sorenne is toppled by some falling debris as the hotel they were staying at collapses.
The doctors give Victor a choice, save the mother or save the baby.
Now, Victor has lost his faith, and his daughter desperately wishes to somehow communicate with her long dead mother.
One of her friends is Katherine, a baptist that knows all about this religious stuff since Angela doesn’t go to church. They tell their parents they are staying at a friend’s house, when in fact they are just walking to the woods by the school where they decided the best place to do their ritual would be a storm drain.
Don’t Baptists believe that if you aren’t baptized under their religion, no matter what you’re going to hell? That seems like a thing they believe, like you’re born with sin, and you are bound for damnation if you aren’t saved by them.
I bring it up because they try to summon the spirit of Angela’s dead mother, who Katherine, being the Baptist of the two, would know is burning in hell right now, as is common with her beliefs.
We then cut to the girls missing. It’s been three days and there hasn’t been a single clue to where they might be other than their book bags and shoes they found in the woods.
That’s when we get introduced to Katherine’s folks, who are assholes. Maybe that’s why Katherine dies in the end, because her parents suck?
Do Baptists do the whole drink red wine and eat communion wafers thing? That sounds like a strictly catholic thing, right? I thought Baptists were mostly a special batch of weirdos that like to do a little dance when they feel the holy ghost shoot up their ass.
It’s all a bunch of gobbledygook to me. I don’t know if Baptists do the whole eat the body of Christ and whatnot but in this movie they do.
The lost girls show back up at a farm with no memory of what happened to them. It’s not exactly explained whatever happened to them either. Their feet look burned, so one hypothesizes that they went to hell to yell at the devil like Jesus did or something.
And I guess the girls both get possessed by Pazuzu, you know the dick snaked demon from the other films. Has it always just been Pazuzu? I know part 2 was when they delved deeper into the lore of the demon but after that things become a blur.
Why Pazuzu again, though? So, we could bring back legacy characters? These new characters have absolutely nothing to do with any of the other films, other than Chris MacNeil, Regan’s mother from the first film, who was conveniently missing in the sequel. I wonder if that was also because of the patriarchy as well.
Yeah, we will get to that believe me, as it is one of the worst lines ever written in the history of cinema.
When the girls are found, they go back home and immediately start showing signs of something wrong with them. Angela attacks her dad and pees the bed, while Katherine has a freak out during church.
One path they could have taken things would be making you question if this is just psychological trauma or not. Like have the religious folks think it’s some kind of demon possessing them, while something more grounded in reality is at fault. And a lot scarier than demon bullshit.
I think originally that’s what they wanted to do with The Omen, make you question if this was really the spawn of Satan or just a shitnosed kid where bad things happen around him.
But of course, you can’t make two more sequels to this Exorcist film if it wasn’t Pazuzu again. But then again, this movie does absolutely nothing to set up any future sequels.
They turn to Regan’s mom Chris MacNeil because after her ordeal with Pazuzu she wrote a book about it, which humiliated Regan, leaving her to stop speaking to her. But I guess Chris MacNeil is an expert now on the subject. If only it wasn’t for that damn patriarchy she could have been in the room with Regan while the priests performed the exorcism.
Which is an actual line from the film. Sorry, but you weren’t in the room because you aren’t a priest, priests who you begged to help save your daughter. Priests by the way that all died trying to help your daughter, so fuck off with the patriarchy bullshit.
So nothing really happens in this movie, not really. Victor gathers up the Justice League of religious assholes to combat Pazuzu. The snake handler doesn’t seem to get anywhere, so we switch to the catholic priest who only manages to lick his own back when his head gets twisted around.
Step aside, it’s time for some Haitian voodoo, that will get these girls free from ol’ snake dick Pazuzu. I joke, but yeah, Beehive does the trick, I guess.
Though technically it mostly seemed like Pazuzu got bored and made the parents pick which one of the girls died. And because Katherine’s parents are assholes, she is the one who dies. The end!
Not exactly as we then have to sit through whatever nonsense the nurse character is spewing while we see a montage of Victor visiting his dead wife’s grave, Katherine’s funeral, and Regan returning to see her eyeless mom.
This movie is genuinely terrible. Like all possession films, it’s boring, nothing happens, it’s filled with new age bullshit. The actor who played Victor was good, even as they are performing the exorcisms, he has this look on his face like, yeah this is all bullshit, you people are bullshit but whatever gets my daughter back to normal.
It was only a second by I swear I saw one of the girls spit pea soup at them, when she didn’t eat any pea soup. If only Leslie Nielsen was there to spit it back.
The Exorcist: Believer gets a SKIP. Do not waste your time, there’s plenty of other films worth checking out this Halloween.
(Like When Evil Lurks on Shudder!)
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