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David Gordon Green
Leslie Odom Jr., Lidya Jewett, Ann Dowd
Writing Credits:
Scott Teems, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green

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, a woman forever altered by what happened to her daughter 50 years ago.

Box Office:
$30 million.
Opening Weekend
$26,497,600 on 3663 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Dolby Vision
English Dolby Atmos
English DVS
Spanish Dolby 7.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

111 min.
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 12/19/2023

• Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director David Gordon Green, Executive Producer Ryan Turek, Co-Writer Peter Sattler and Special Makeup Effects Designer Christopher Nelson
• “Making a Believer” Featurette
• “Reunited” Featurette
• “Stages of Possession” Featurette
• “The Opening” Featurette
• “Editing an Exorcism” Featurette
• “Matters of Faith” Featurette
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Exorcist: Believer [4K UHD] (2023)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 14, 2023)

Filmmaker David Gordon Green initially gained cinematic fame through low-budget indie flicks like George Washington and oddball comedies such as Pineapple Express and Eastbound and Down. However, in 2018 Green took a hard turn in terms of genre.

That year, Green directed Halloween, a reboot/sequel to the 1978 classic. This led to two more flicks in that series, and 2023 sends him into another storied horror franchise via The Exorcist: Believer.

After his wife Sorenne (Tracey Graves) dies during childbirth, Victor Fielding (Leslie Odom Jr.) finds himself widowed and left as a single father. 13 years later, Victor and adolescent daughter Angela (Lidya Jewett) live a fairly ordinary life in Georgia, though Sorenne’s death leaves Victor scarred.

One day Angela and pal Katherine West (Olivia O’Neill) venture into the woods to find a location where they’ll conduct a séance to contact Sorenne but they don’t return. When found three days later, they initially seem fine, but Victor soon starts to suspect some serious concerns, with a potential supernatural issue at work.

Although Green’s 2018 Halloween earned pretty good reviews and scored big at the box office, the two follow-ups fared less well. Thanks to low budgets and a devoted fan base, both made money, but both 2021’s Halloween Kills and 2022’s Halloween Ends sold far fewer tickets than the 2018 flick did, and they also encountered largely weak write-ups from critics.

If Green hoped that he’d get a positive reception for his second reboot/sequel, he quickly encountered disappointment. Believer suffered from worse reviews than any of the three Halloween movies, and while it also turned a profit – again, largely thanks to a low budget – audiences didn’t seem to much like what they saw.

Universal apparently paid $400 million for the rights to the Exorcist franchise, and they intended Believer to launch a new trilogy. Although those plans seem to remain intact, no one can feel much optimism about the series’ future given this first film’s reception.

On one hand, I think Believer doesn’t deserve all the negativity that came its way. In the realm of 21st century horror movies, it actually compares favorably.

I feel that way mainly because Green largely avoids the usual tacky “jump scares”. Not that Believer doesn’t occasionally toss a “boo moment” at us, but the film instead prefers to pursue a creepier, more understated approach.

Green clearly follows this tone in an attempt to echo the tone found in the 1973 original Exorcist. That one succeeded partly because it adopted such a clinical, objective vibe and didn’t indulge too many cheap theatrics.

Green doesn’t totally pull off this attempt to follow in the first film’s footsteps. Nonetheless, given how relentlessly most modern horror opts for tacky tropes instead of genuine scares, I respect his decision to follow that path.

Unfortunately, Believer doesn’t really connect because it too often seems sluggish and pointless. Actually, the first act shows moderate intrigue as we get to know the characters and the initial weirdness/mystery related to what happened to Angela and Katherine.

After that, though, Believer tends to spin its wheels, and the choice to involve two potentially possessed kids feels like a gimmick. The movie does attempt to use this concept in a few semi-clever ways, but the “double exorcism” never pays off in an especially satisfying manner.

Indeed, the entire third act comes across as a bit histrionic and overdone. Again, Green doesn’t resort to cheap scares, but Believer opts more for melodramatic threads than real fright.

Part of the potential attraction here comes from the return of some actors from the 1973 original. I’d love to say the film involves them in an organic and substantial manner, but instead, their presence just feels like another gimmick.

At least Green managed to make Jamie Lee Curtis a core aspect of his Halloween trilogy. Instead, the Exorcist actors lack any real need to appear here and they just seem like we find them for marketing purposes.

Ultimately, I don’t think Believer deserves the terrible reputation it currently musters, but don’t take that as real praise. While the movie comes with some positives, it tends to feel too slow and too pointless to offer a compelling restart to the franchise.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

The Exorcist: Believer appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This was a generally positive Dolby Vision presentation.

Sharpness looked solid. A few shots felt slightly soft, but not to a substantial degree, so most of the movie seemed accurate and concise.

No jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws were a non-factor, as the movie stayed clean.

Like most modern flicks, Believer favored a mix of amber/orange and teal, albeit with a dingy, grimy vibe. Within these parameters, the colors appeared solid, and HDR gave the tones a bit more impact.

Blacks seemed deep and tight, while shadows were smooth and well-delineated. HDR added some range to whites and contrast. In the end, the transfer proved to be appealing.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, I also felt positive about the pretty good Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Believer. Given the nature of the story, moody environmental information dominated the mix.

These elements filled out the speakers in an involving manner. The movie didn’t become a constant whiz-bang soundfield, but it created a decent sense of place.

Along with an earthquake early in the film, he more active “scare moments” used the spectrum in the most dynamic manner, but they failed to appear on a frequent basis. Instead, music and moody ambience became the most prominent components, along with rain and other weather elements.

Audio quality was fine, as speech seemed natural and concise. Effects depicted the elements with acceptable accuracy and boasted pleasing low-end when necessary.

Music showed positive clarity and range, and they also packed solid bass response at times. This was a perfectly positive mix for the material.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the film’s Blu-ray version? Both offered identical Atmos audio.

As for the Dolby Vision image, it showed somewhat superior delineation, colors and blacks. However, because the movie opted for an intentionally grimy picture much of the time, the 4K didn’t offer visual revelations.

As we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from co-writer/director David Gordon Green, executive producer Ryan Turek, co-writer Peter Sattler and special makeup effects designer Christopher Nelson. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, influences, cast and performances, various effects, sets and locations, music, editing, and connected domains.

Expect a fairly satisfying overview here. We get a good examination of the expected topics in this brisk and engaging chat.

Six featurettes follow, and Making a Believer goes for eight minutes, 45 seconds. It brings remarks from Green, Nelson, producers David Robinson and Jason Blum, and actors Leslie Odom Jr., Ellen Burstyn, Ann Dowd, Olivia O’Neill, Jennifer Nettles, and Lidya Jewett.

The program covers the Exorcist franchise, story/characters, cast and performances, and Green’s impact on the set. A few decent tidbits emerge, but most of the reel feels fluffy.

Reunited lasts four minutes, 32 seconds. This one delivers info from Blum, Green, Burstyn, and actor Linda Blair.

This one examines actors who returned from the original Exorcist. Expect more happy talk.

With Stages of Possession, we find a six-minute, three-second piece. Here we find notes from Jewett, O’Neill, Green, Nelson, Nettles, Dowd, and actor Okwui Okpokwasili.

“Stages” tells us about the movie’s makeup effects. Once again, we find a mix of decent notes and puffy praise.

The Opening spans six minutes, 18 seconds. It presents statements from Green, Odom, Blum, executive producer Stephanie Allain, editor Tim Alverson, and stunt coordinator Ashley Rae Riddick.

This piece takes on aspects of the movie’s prologue, with an emphasis on locations, sound design, editing, and stunts. “Opening” becomes another combination of facts and fluff.

Next comes Editing an Exorcism. It lasts four minutes, 34 seconds and features Alverson, Green, Nettles, Dowd, Jewett, O’Neill,

As implied by the title, this one looks at editing. Once more, the reel combines praise with insights.

Finally, Matters of Faith runs four minutes, 24 seconds. This one delivers comments from Burstyn, Green, Senior Lecturer in Religion and Social Sciences Dr. David M. Bell, priest/actor Father Morris, and Master of Divinity Reverend Bec Cranford.

“Faith” looks at the movie’s religious underpinnings. That sounds like a worthwhile topic but the featurette fails to explore it in an involving manner.

A second disc provides a Blu-ray copy of the film. It comes with the same extras as the 4K.

50 years after the original film became a massive hit and a cultural sensation, The Exorcist: Believer attempts to restart and reinvigorate the franchise. While it shows occasional signs of life, too much of the movie drags and fails to find its own personality. The 4K UHD comes with good picture and audio as well as an inconsistent mix of bonus features. Perhaps the second chapter in this trilogy will rebound, but Believer launches matters on a tepid note.

To rate this film visit the prior review of EXORCIST: BELIEVER

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main