‘The Exorcist’ Recap: Things To Know Before Watching ‘The Exorcist Believer’

The Exorcist from 1973 still happens to be one of the best horror films ever made. Some would argue it is the best, but we leave that to your discretion. There have been many sequels to the original movie that failed to impress audiences, and it’s the first film that is widely regarded as true terror. The film, which was brought to life mostly through practical effects, plays out in a very slow and menacing manner, but more importantly, it is scattered with little details that really make it extremely frightening. The Exorcist follows the story of actress Chris MacNeil, a mother whose loving 12-year-old becomes a different person seemingly overnight. After spending days trying to figure out what is wrong with her neurologically and then psychologically, Chris has no choice but to go to the church for help. The Exorcist begins in northern Iraq, where Father Merrin is digging up some archeological finds when he discovers the face of a demon named Pazzuzu. We see a lot of symbolism of Pazzuzu throughout The Exorcist, showing us that he’s the evil that has taken over Regan.


Spoilers Ahead

The Exorcism: Believer Is A Possession Film

This is rather obvious, but if you haven’t seen trailers or don’t know anything about the film, this is the biggest hint you need. If you’re one to be scared easily by  possession films, then The Exorcism: Believer will probably get you good. While in the first film there is only one possessed child, in this there will be two. The franchise is also trying to be inclusive, very obviously.


This Is A Trilogy

Unlike previous installments of The Exorcist, which all connect to the first film directly, this new film is the first part of a trilogy. There are many questions one can ask regarding this idea. Will the sequels involve the same characters? Will the ending be ambiguous, leaving us waiting for years till the sequel shows up? What will be the connecting arc between the films?

Chris MacNeil Returns

Now this is the most exciting thing about The Exorcist: Believer. Fun fact: this happens to be the longest time an actor has been associated with a single character, at 50 years. Actress Ellen Burstyn returns as the forever-changed mother. Although she’s the only one in the trailer, fans can hope for an appearance by Regan sometime in this film. In the first film, it is expressed that exorcisms were stopped after people started studying “mental illnesses”. Father Karras talks about schizophrenia and other disorders that replaced the world of possession back in the day. Of course, after seeing Regan’s case, things change, and we can imagine that in the The Exorcist universe, things have picked up ever since, and there’s a thin line of balance between the two ideas. Now, Chris helps parents of possessed children and has even written books to show people what she went through. At the end of the first film, Regan doesn’t remember anything that happened to her and Chris intends to keep it that way, but if she’s now written books and such, it was only a matter of time till Regan found out. 



Over the years, The Exorcist has taken some flak for a lot of problematic and controversial topics. Of course, most importantly, for hurting religious sentiment. The new film seems to take notes and try to be more inclusive in terms of culture and religion, but this could be a stretch. It’s not quite clear just from the trailer, but we can imagine there’s some kind of progress because that’s what a “50 years later” sequel should do.

The Symbolism

Considering this film is a direct sequel to The Exorcist, there are some symbols we can keep in mind, such as Pazzuzu, who may make a new appearance this time as well. Other than that, there is the necklace that Father Kerras wears through the film, which is then removed by Regan so that the demon can get inside of him. That necklace is a symbol of hope and safety. Just before leaving, Chris tries to hand over the necklace to Father Dyer for memory’s sake, but he hands it back to her to make sure it keeps their family safe. We wonder if this necklace will come into play in this film.


What Can We Expect?

Well, the new film is brought to us by David Gordon Green the director of the Halloween sequels, which definitely didn’t go down so well. The trailer showcases similar scenes to the first film as an ode to the practical effects and cinematography of the time. It will be interesting to see how the film blends into The Exorcist as a direct sequel. The film follows a single father whose wife died in childbirth. His daughter Angela has a friend in school who comes from a very different background than herself. Somehow, these two girls get along really well. One day, the two head out to the woods and disappear for three days. When they’re found again, they’ve brought something demonic back with them.

There’s also a scene where the father is told by the two girls that only one of them can survive, and it will be his choice. This is somewhat similar to the prequel, in which Father Merrin is asked to choose 10 people for the Nazis to kill. This is when his faith is shaken, and he starts to fear there is no God. We can imagine this scene will have a similar effect on the dad. The demon definitely knows how to shake Chris’ spirit and reminds her of how her daughter was affected back in the day. It’ll be interesting to see her face it with less fear and more power. We can imagine that the father’s character parallels Chris’ because he may have been disheartened after losing his wife. We’ll get all our answers on October 6, 2023.


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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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