Fifty years ago, The Exorcist, the most terrifying horror film in history landed on screens, global audiences were treated to an unimaginable fear that shook them to their core. It starred Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow and newcomer Linda Blair, and became a landmark moment in horror that changed the genre and moviegoing forever.
Now, a new chapter begins. From Blumhouse and director David Gordon Green, who shattered the status quo with their resurrection of the Halloween franchise, comes The Exorcist: Believer. The new movie marks a new beginning that takes audiences into the darkest heart of inexplicable evil. Since the death of his pregnant wife in a Haitian earthquake 13 years ago, Victor Fielding (Tony winner and Oscar® nominee Leslie Odom, Jr.; One Night in Miami, Hamilton) has raised their daughter, Angela (Lidya Jewett, Good Girls) on his own.
But when Angela and her friend Katherine (newcomer Olivia O’Neill), disappear in the woods, only to return three days later with no memory of what happened to them, it unleashes a chain of events that will force Victor to confront the nadir of evil and, in his terror and desperation, seek out the only person alive who has witnessed anything like it before: Chris MacNeil.
For the first time in five decades, Oscar® winner Ellen Burstyn returns to the role of Chris MacNeil, the woman who moved heaven and Earth to save her daughter, Regan (Linda Blair), from an unthinkable evil in the 1973 film. “Chris has had 50 years of living,” Burstyn says, “And I thought, ‘Who has she become? What are the experiences that happened to her in those 50 years, and how does that affect the person she is now?’ That interested me creatively. We are, in any moment of time, the sum total of everything that has happened to us and how that has become part of our character. That was an interesting challenge to explore.”
“The original Exorcist film was groundbreaking for its time, and we wanted to honor the film with this continuation,” producer Jason Blum says. “It’s been 50 years, and thousands of horror films have been released since The Exorcist, so, for us, it was about trying to go back to an unsettling and original story.”
While the 1973 film explored demonic possession from a predominantly Catholic perspective, The Exorcist: Believer incorporates multiple faiths in the fight to save two young girls. “My efforts on this movie were to make it a dialogue about the unknown,” director David Gordon Green says. “The film is dealing with the vulnerability of parenthood when you have a child with an unexplainable illness. How you approach a crisis like that is shaped by your own belief system: whether you’re a family that’s devout Baptist or a family that doesn’t believe in God, or a family that’s looking to the medical world, either with great hope or with great suspicion.”
From Universal Pictures International, The Exorcist: Believer opens in cinemas on October 4.