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Exorcist Believer: All Beliefs Matter

My strongest opinion is this: Lidya Jewett and Olivia O'Neill are fantastic as the afflicted girls Angela and Katherine. They had a lot to live up to in comparison to Linda Blair, and they pull off their possessions in compelling performances that honor the original film.


Their performances are enhanced by a stellar makeup department, who updated the traditional aesthetic that both recalled the original film while promoting the horror expected of a 2023 audience.


I don't believe it would be fair to remark on the acting of the rest of the cast, because the writing is so atrocious. Packed with wooden monologues, the script is awkward and unnatural, emotions are blatantly artificial, and the story itself is ... a hot mess.


When credits rolled Dr. S turned to me and asked what I think, and my first snarky response was "it's the All Lives Matter of possession movies." Days later, I stand by that quip. It's a religious horror movie that is afraid to say anything about religion; it includes atheists and Catholics and Protestants and magic practitioners, and argues that catholic-described demonic possession is real ... but all faiths can come together as equals to expel the ... Catholic forces. (The film repeats that all cultures have some sort of possession/exorcism tradition, but the possession in the film is undeniably Catholic.) There is no consistency in the exorcism, and no clear explanation. In avoiding insult to any faith, the film says nothing.


Spoilers


What's more, the conclusion defies its own message of hope. Why the survivors laud the good in the world, the film makes no comment on the fact that it condemns a 13yo girl to hell for no reason. As a move, it's ballsy and unexpected and I appreciate it. But the strength of the surprise is lost when the tone of the movie doesn't recognize it's final horror.


The possession itself is a great story, but the exorcism is sophomoric.

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