In the wake of lackluster reviews, renowned horror maestro John Carpenter adds his perspective on the reception of The Exorcist: Believer. Helmed by David Gordon Green, the visionary behind the recent Halloween trilogy revival, this film directly continues the legacy of John Friedkin’s seminal 1973 classic.
Recently, John Carpenter, known for directing classics like 1978’s Halloween and 1982’s The Thing, shares his thoughts on the lukewarm reception of The Exorcist: Believer in a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times. While it seems he hasn’t had the chance to watch the film yet, he clearly views the sequel as a potential letdown. Dive into Carpenter’s complete statement below:
“I like what David did when he made the three ‘Halloweens.’ I loved No. 2 [‘Halloween Kills’]. Thought that was fabulous. I heard ‘The Exorcist’ really didn’t cut it. That could be a kickass movie. I don’t understand how you can screw that up.”
Much like the 2018 revival of Halloween, Green’s reboot/sequel presented an opportunity to reintroduce the franchise to new audiences while also engaging those with a nostalgic connection to the original film series. However, it appears that the latest installment has fallen short, struggling to find its own identity and strike the right balance.
In The Exorcist: Believer, there’s a deliberate effort to echo Friedkin’s original concepts and stylistic touches, even bringing back Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil. Yet, a recurring critique in reviews is that Green’s homage to the franchise’s roots doesn’t bring anything truly innovative or refreshing. Instead, the film feels like a rehash of previously explored themes and concepts, albeit less effectively.
While there is one genuinely startling moment involving Chris in The Exorcist: Believer, it’s widely noted that the movie lacks a sufficient level of terror. It’s hard to overemphasize just how groundbreaking and authentically terrifying the original Exorcist was in 1973, and the new installment simply doesn’t capture that same raw intensity and unique sense of foreboding.
All of these factors have contributed to the film’s rather underwhelming reception, particularly in commercial terms, and this is further emphasized by the staggering $400 million that Universal invested in acquiring the franchise rights.