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Evil squared - The Exorcist: Believer (2023) - Review

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.

Hey there, fellow horror aficionados! Today, I'm diving headfirst into the twisted world of The Exorcist: Believer, a film that doesn't just challenge your nerves but also tests your faith in more ways than one. Directed by someone who clearly has a inclination for unsettling tales, this one is not for the faint of heart or for those who are afraid to face their faith head-on. Buckle up, folks, because we're about to dissect the good, the possessed, and the divinely questionable.

First things first, let's talk stars. Ellen Burstyn is back in the saddle as Chris MacNeil, bringing her A-game and a touch of veteran brilliance to the table. Joining her on this demonic rollercoaster are Jennifer Nettles as Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr. as Victor Fielding, and the always formidable Ann Dowd as Ann. With a lineup like this, you know you're in for a treat, or perhaps a terrifying exorcism.

The plot, oh the plot! Two girls vanish into the woods, only to return with no recollection of the horrors they've faced. Enter the distressed father, seeking solace and answers from none other than Chris MacNeil, a woman haunted by the past and forever changed by her daughter's ordeal half a century ago. The stage is set for a chilling tale that intertwines the past and present, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

The trailer, linked above for your viewing pleasure, is a masterclass in suspense. It sets the tone perfectly, giving us just enough of a glimpse into the horrors that await without spoiling the demonic feast. The eerie soundtrack and chilling visuals are enough to send shivers down your spine, making it clear that this is not your average horror flick.

Now, let's delve into the nitty-gritty. What worked for me in The Exorcist: Believer? Firstly, the slow build-up deserves a standing ovation. It allowed us to connect with the characters, making their impending possession all the more gut-wrenching. The possessed girls delivered stellar performances, perfectly capturing the essence of the original movie's demonic possession. And let's not forget the delightful cameos that will leave fans of the franchise grinning like Cheshire cats.

However, it's not all holy water and crucifixes. Believer occasionally overplays its diversity card, shouting its message from the rooftops. While diversity in film is undoubtedly essential, the film occasionally veers into being too in-your-face, pulling you out of the immersive horror experience. Moreover, the original movies had a strong Christian focus during exorcisms, but here we see a broader inclusion of multiple religions. Some may appreciate the diversity, but for purists of the franchise, it might feel like a deviation from the established tone.

In the trivia corner, did you know that Ellen Burstyn initially turned down the opportunity to reprise her role? It took double the salary to convince her, leading her to wryly comment, "I feel like the devil is asking my price." In the end, she accepted and used the extra funds to create an MFA scholarship for actors at Pace University. Now, that's a deal with the devil that turned out quite angelic!

In conclusion, The Exorcist: Believer earns a solid 7/10 from this humble movie buff. It's a devilishly good time, even if it occasionally strays into diverse territories that might not sit well with everyone. So, grab your crucifix, say a prayer, and enjoy the spine-chilling ride this horror flick has to offer.

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