REVIEW: New Exorcist film offers different path

The Exorcist: Believer is a direct sequel to the 1973 film The Exorcist. However, there are some significant variations between the two films. "The Exorcist: Believer” takes a bold leap into uncharted territory while preserving the eerie essence of its predecessor. This new perspective not only introduces key differences but also serves as a springboard for an entirely fresh narrative within the same chilling universe. 

Venturing beyond the confines of the first film, "Believer" intensifies the stakes with the possession of two girls and introduces a malevolent force named Lamashtu. Exploring profound themes of parenthood, the film delves into the psychological and supernatural realms with a unique approach. Unlike the original, "The Exorcist: Believer" embraces a more conventional horror style, incorporating possession movie clichés and heightened jump scares, promising a thrilling and hair-raising cinematic experience for both fans and newcomers alike.

One of the notable distinctions between “The Exorcist: Believer” and its predecessor, often criticized in unfavorable reviews, is its shift towards a more conventional horror film approach. In contrast to William Friedkin's original vision of “The Exorcist,” which was conceived as a theological drama exploring a priest's crisis of faith rather than a traditional horror movie, “The Exorcist: Believer” embraces the tropes and clichés commonly associated with possession films. While Friedkin portrayed the demonic terror in “The Exorcist” with subtlety, allowing the story and characters to unfold naturally, “The Exorcist: Believer” opts for a more explicit use of jump scares and conventional horror elements. Straying from the original's understated style, the sequel aims to outdo its predecessor by incorporating numerous demonic scares, presenting a series of sequences featuring possessed children engaging in stereotypical paranormal activities. The effective horror of “The Exorcist” lies in its departure from typical horror conventions, whereas “The Exorcist: Believer” leans into and revels in the familiar tropes of the genre.

The entity responsible for possessing the girls in “The Exorcist: Believer” differs from the demon that afflicted Regan MacNeil in the original Exorcist film. While Regan fell victim to the malevolent Pazuzu, Angela and Katherine face a new adversary named Lamashtu. Lamashtu, considered by some as even more perilous than Pazuzu, deviates from the latter's general possession tendencies. Unlike Pazuzu, who indiscriminately possesses individuals, Lamashtu specifically preys on mothers during childbirth, aiming to seize control of their infants and inflict lasting damage on parent-child relationships. This sinister event aligns with the overarching theme of parenthood within the franchise, delving into the profound length's parents are willing to go to safeguard their offspring.

In contrast to the original Exorcist film, where there was only one girl possessed, “The Exorcist: Believer” intensifies the tension by featuring two possessed girls, Angela and Katherine. This dual possession not only alters the demonic lore of the narrative but also presents the characters with a moral dilemma reminiscent of Sophie's Choice. Faced with the agonizing decision to save one child from demonic possession while the other faces damnation, the characters navigate through a profound ethical quandary.