Though Warner Bros.’ 1973 adaptation of The Exorcist is an iconic piece of horror cinema, none of the studio’s subsequent sequels ever really managed to make all that much of a splash. Only time will tell whether that also ends up being the case with Universal and Blumhouse’s new trilogy of Exorcist features from director David Gordon Green, but the first trailer for The Exorcist: Believer definitely makes it seem like the revival’s cooking with gas.
Set in the same continuity as the original film, The Exorcist: Believer tells the story of how widower Victor Fielding (Leslie Odom Jr.) struggles to save the life of his young daughter Angela (Lidya Jewett) after she and her friend Katherine (Olivia Marcum) vanish suddenly one day only to reappear days later seemingly possessed by demonic entities.
Victor doesn’t need any prior experience with the supernatural to tell that something’s amiss with the girls after they both show up with little memory of where they’ve been, and Angela takes to sneaking up behind him in the middle of the night to say strange things. But when the girls begin to be overcome with convulsions and start speaking in inhumanly resonant, feral voices, some part of Victor knows that his neighbor’s (Ann Dowd) advice to seek out someone familiar with possessions is on the money.
As delicious as it is to hear snippets of “Tubular Bells” sprinkled throughout the trailer, it’s even better to see Ellen Burstyn return as an older, wiser Chris MacNeil, who remembers well what it took to expel a demon from her own daughter. It’s interesting to see that Believer’s story will revolve around two possessions that have some sort of common thread and touch on spiritual practices outside of Catholicism that deal with demonic expulsion. But given how much of an influence the original Exorcist has had on the horror genre and its possession-focused subset, The Exorcist: Believer’s success is likely going to hinge on just how well it’s able to truly unsettle and disturb audiences.
The Exorcist: Believer is slated to hit theaters on October 13th.