Another week, another horror film! Back in 2018, David Gordon Green (director) made a new “Halloween” film. It was a direct sequel of the first Halloween and was well-received with both critics and the public. I loved it and couldn’t wait for more. This stemmed two sequels that never lived up to the first entry from Green. We now have a new film that is a sequel to a classic horror film in “The Exorcist.” I should mention that Danny McBride helped write this as he did the Halloween movies. Great actor, usually great writer. That being said the plan is for another trilogy if this one does well. Looking at the box office results as I write this review, I believe there will be a sequel. Is it warranted?
Onto the film.
We open in Haiti and meet our “hero” of this film in Victor Fielding (Odom Jr.) he’s with his wife Sorenne (Graves) and he’s about to have a baby. We see a brief montage of their time there. It’s not really known what’s the purpose. I immediately was a touch confused. That being said the original “The Exorcist” starts in Egypt so I still had hope. Without spoiling too much, there’s an earthquake and Victor (Odom Jr.) is tasks with choosing to who save….his wife….or their unborn daughter.
We cut to years later and meet a young Angela (Jewett) who appears to be a teenager. Her mother was lost in the earthquake. We hear the typical family banter and then Angela meets her friend Katherine (O’Neill) at school. It’s worth noting that in the early scenes we see the girls in church and Angela’s family and her faith are especially important and referenced. Does it play a part? Not particularly. The girls decided to venture off into the woods and perform a séance to try to talk to Angela’s mother. The cookie-cutter plot devices start here and unfortunately don’t stop.
The girls end up missing and the parents of the girls, as well as, police search desperately for them. The search could have built tension and added for more scares. There’s one moment that would probably cause Mom to jump, but that’s about it.
Days go by, and the girls magically show up in a barn. They have injuries and are immediately taken to the hospital for examinations. Here I thought things would really take off! I was wrong.
We then get a slow decline into the girls (obviously possessed) succumbing to whatever has taken them.
There’s some fan service when Chris MacNeil (Burstyn) is contacted for help. If you’ve watched the original, you’ll know she was one of the main characters. Unfortunately, her presence is minimal, and the character is partially wasted. This could have been great.
Here’s what works:
The two girls Angela and Katherine (played by Lidya Jewett and Olivia O’Neill) are great. When they are acting as the possessed versions of themselves it was believable and creepy. The looks they gave the camera added to the doom and gloom atmosphere in front of us.
The CGI is not overly used and clearly added to the girls for their makeup. I thought it was good.
The score helps add tension the scenes in front of us and the famous “exorcist” theme is always a nice spark.
Here’s what DOESN’T work.
Everything else. I’m kidding but its close. The cast aside from the two young actresses and Ellen Burstyn are forgettable. We need a generic priest…. bring in this person. And so on, and so on.
The script was boring. For a film about possession and the next big horror movie…nothing really happens.
I also counted maybe two scares.
If you’re a fan of this series I’d imagine you will see it, but if not, I would skip it. Wait for streaming. I hate that I am saying this, but it just wasn’t very good. If you are all-in on “spooky season” and watching scary movies every day then you’ll enjoy the young cast and want to watch the original immediately. That’s about it. We will try again next week! 1 ½ stars out of 5