#Review: Lost Resonance – ‘The Exorcist: Believer’ and the Unfilled Void of Emotional Depth


In a genre teeming with imitators and one-off frights, the original The Exorcist reigns supreme not just for its supernatural elements but for its ability to probe our existential fears. This mastery is crystallised in the haunting scene where Father Damien frantically chases his mother towards a subway, a symbolic descent into Hell itself. The moment is imbued with dread not because of demonic malevolence, but due to the emotional torment and the cutting of vital human bonds. Such a moment, lamentably, finds no parallel in The Exorcist: Believer.

The film starts with an auditory disquiet, echoing the sounds of dogs ferociously fighting, a visceral throwback that aims to provoke the same unrest as the fighting dogs of the original. Similarly, a rattling attic scene pays tribute to the classic, giving fans of the original something to latch onto. These nods, though far from capturing the original’s gravitas, still serve as some of the film’s most memorable moments.

However, Believer struggles with a narrative that wobbles precariously into the hokey, lacking the substance required to create a profound sense of fear or involvement. Despite possessing well-timed jump scares, these moments come off as mere morsels compared to the feast of dread offered by the original. When the storytelling, performances, and capacity to induce genuine fear are put to the test, Believer inevitably flounders in the shadow of its iconic predecessor.

A redeeming feature worth noting is the film’s commendable focus on diversity and inclusivity, a stride in the right direction for modern cinema. Though this does not elevate the narrative in any meaningful way, it neither diminishes nor feels incongruous within the film’s overarching framework, which is crucial given its other limitations.

In summary, The Exorcist: Believer serves as a palatable introduction for casual observers; for those not acquainted with the original’s complex brew of terror and narrative depth. However, for connoisseurs of horror and fans of the original, this installment may appear as a series of well-intentioned but ultimately unsatisfying gestures toward a much richer and terrifying antecedent. Is it just that contemporary audiences lack the patience required for quality narrative and the conflict that drives plot to be established?

As we look forward to future entries, let’s continue our critical dialogues, cherishing both what we love and contemplating what can be refined.

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