The Exorcist: Believer

Those holding onto faith that filmmaker David Gordon Green can successfully revive the franchise that birthed one of the most iconic demonic possession films of all time can finally take a breath and put down the prayer beads. The wait is over. The Exorcist: Believer is here. Now. In theaters.

… and it is really bad.

Billed as a direct sequel to the 1973 original, The Exorcist: Believer assumes only the original as canon. As if none of the other four remakes, rehashes, and revisits ever existed. That’s probably not a bad foundation upon which to build the studio’s plans for a new Exorcist trilogy, because quite frankly, none of those films came anywhere close to matching the original. With slight apologies to The Exorcist III, quite frankly, they were all terrible.

"The pacing is uneven, and the scares are predictable and even un-scary most of the time"

With his The Exorcist: Believer, it’s clear Green is attempting to revive the iconic horror franchise with a fresh contemporary take on demonic possession and faith. He brings it up to modern day and positions it as a snapshot of our current times with a single father, Victor (Leslie Odom, Jr.) struggling to raise his teenage daughter, Angela (Lidya Jewitt) on his own.

Despite being self-described as a riveting and dramatic exploration of shaken faith, family trauma, and inexplicable evil, the film fails to deliver on that promise, leaving in its wake a path of crushed dreams and shattered expectations.

While still pregnant with Angela, her mother was lost in a Haitian earthquake and her father has sadly, forbidden his daughter access to her mother’s memory. And so, with the help of classmate Katherine (Olivia O’Neill), the daughter of a devout Catholic family, the girls venture into the woods to conjure up the spirit of Angela’s mother. They return three days later bloody and disoriented with no memory of what happened to them. Unleashed is a supernatural chain of events that forces Victor to confront head on, the source of the evil that has penetrated his family.

The Exorcist: Believer feels old, uninspired and relatively tame despite its R rating. The opposite of what sent the original into the box office stratosphere and onto the Oscar stage. Green and co-writers Peter Sattler, and Scott Teems might have found better success with a script completely unrelated to its canon as Believers feels more interested in capitalizing on nostalgia rather than offering a fresh perspective on the story. And no, young girls hurling vulgar insults in a growling man-voice no longer work in today’s world of horror.The Exorcist: Believer

Green, known for his work on Halloween (2018), fails to infuse The Exorcist: Believer with the same level of suspense, tension, and horror that made some of his previous work successful. The pacing is uneven, and the scares are predictable and even un-scary most of the time.

To its credit is the remarkable cast which also includes The Exorcist alum Ellen Burstyn, and Ann Dowd as a Catholic nurse, and the film’s impressive production value and horror effects, which entertained the inner horror-makeup nerd in me for a while.

In order to be effective, demonic possession films must work on an emotional level, taking viewers to unfathomable places in the mind that shake faith, challenge doctrine, and confront conviction. In fact, I still have trouble shaking that crucifix scene from the original. *shivers. Oh, and by the way, there is a grisly reference to that crucifix. And yes, a lot of blood is involved. Come to think of it, perhaps that’s where the R rating comes from.

While there’s certainly a measure of built-in horror from the loss of a loved one in addition to the film’s themes of internal struggles and questioned faith, Green never goes quite far enough. Perhaps today’s viewers need more to move the horror needle. If true, that’s kind of sad, but the fact remains, The Exorcist: Believer doesn’t.

I’ve pretty much lost faith in the franchise, and I suspect the two planned follow-ups are now in jeopardy unless the Exorcist faithful show up en masse. But as my twelve-year-old self was back in 1973, I’ll be planted in a theater seat when The Exorcist: Deceiver comes out in 2025, God willing.

1/5 stars


The Exorcist: Believer

4k details divider

4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital

Home Video Distributor: Universal Studios
Available on Blu-ray
- December 19, 2023
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH; Spanish; French
EEnglish; Dolby Atmos' Spanish; Dolby Atmos; French Dolby Digital plus 7.1
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: 4K region-free; blu-ray locked to Region A

Looking to shatter our nerves with its home video debut of The Exorcist: Believer, Universal Studios releases its 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital release of the film.

There's really not a lot to say about this release as it is exactly what we expected from a film that failed to move the horror needle upon its theatrical release in October. However, the packaging, video transfer, and audio codec are far superior to the impact of the film. That old adage about polishing a turd comes to mind upon a second viewing in 2160p.

A Movies Anywhere digital redemption coupon is included in the black, two-hub eco-case. A cardboard slipcover with embossed lettering, matte printing, and foil stamping packages everything up nicely.


The Exorcist: Believer was shot on digital cameras so, not unexpectedly, the 1.85:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) Dolby Vision encoding looks really good with sharp details and colors that remain true to life throughout.

This is a very dark film, and as such, we don't get a lot to knock our socks off visually. However, even in the film's darkest moments (which are pitch black) the care which has been given to the transfer is visible, or, shall we say, not visible, as there are no flaws, no noise, and no digital artifacting, at all.


Both the blu-ray and 4K discs sport the lively Dolby Atmos audio track which features a lot of banging, bumping, screeching and growling. It's all good and the atmospherics certainly come alive, particularly during the exorcism scenes. It's safe to say that the auditory experience is the best things about this release. Fast forward to the 01:01:54 mark as the setting shifts to inside the house where we meet Regan doing what Regan does. It's rock the room!


Adequate attention was paid here as we get over 30 minutes of bonus material that includes a feature commentary with the film's makers, making-of featurette, an acting reunion memory, a location shooting piece, and more.


  • With co-writer/director David Gordon Green, executive producer Ryan Turek, co-writer Peter Sattler, and special makeup FX designer Christopher Nelson

Special Features:

  • Making a Believer
  • Ellen and Linda: Reunited
  • Stages of Possession
  • The Opening
  • Editing an Exorcism
  • Matters of Faith

4k rating divider

  Movie 1/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3/5 stars


Film Details

The Exorcist: Believer

MPAA Rating: R.
111 mins
: David Gordon Green
Peter Sattler; David Gordon Green; Scott Teems
Ellen Burstyn; Linda Blair; Jennifer Nettles
: Horror

Memorable Movie Quote: "The Body and the Blood"
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 6, 2023
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 19, 2023
Synopsis: When two girls disappear into the woods and return three days later with no memory of what happened to them, the father of one girl seeks out Chris MacNeil, who's been forever altered by what happened to her daughter fifty years ago.


The Exorcist: Believer