Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Leslie Odom Jr., Ellen Burstyn, Ann Dowd, Lidya Jewett, Olivia O’Neill, Raphael Sbarge, Jennifer Nettles, Okwui Okpokwasili
Where: In theatres near you
Horror films tap into our primal fears and emotions, providing a range of experiences from suspense and tension to catharsis and adrenaline rushes. Their ability to elicit strong emotional responses and the exploration of societal fears make them a compelling and enduring genre in cinema. The 1973 release, The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin, had it all. It is truly the most influential and iconic horror film in cinematic history.
Unfortunately, this film, the sixth installment of the Exorcist franchise, is uninspiring, predictable, and a soul-less cash grab. It serves as a direct sequel to the original classic, reconnecting, in some ways, to the story of Chris MacNeil and her daughter, Regan.
The only major ace in the film is the return of the original protagonist, Ellen Burstyn, to reprise her role as the weary mother who has been to Hell and back.
Eli Joshua AdÃ©/Universal Pictures
This edition follows two curious girls, Angela (Lidya Jewett) and Katherine (Olivia Marcum), who sneak off one evening into the forest to indulge in an occult ritual hoping to connect with Angela’s dead mom, Sorenne (Tracey Graves), who had died during childbirth after a deadly earthquake struck Haiti where she was holidaying with her photographer husband Victor (Leslie Odom Jr.).
The girls go missing only to appear three days later, miles away from home, with no memory of what happened to them. They return home as changed children, exhibiting signs of demonic possession.
Victor, being a single father and an atheist, is unable to fathom the situation. He tries to seek help from Katherine’s parents, Tony and Miranda (Norbert Leo Butz and Jennifer Nettles), who are a religious lot, and is guided to take the expertise of Chris, who had witnessed a similar situation with her daughter Regan (Linda Blair) fifty years ago.
Learning more about what he is up against, Victor joins nurse Ann (Ann Dowd) and a whole lot of religious heads from different sects as they prepare an exorcism, ready to confront Satan’s grasp on the girls.
Anne Marie Fox/Universal Pictures
The plot takes a clunky route, which is never convincing. The motley crew is crudely assembled to save the girls from the demonic spirit and focuses more on the argumentative behaviour among the parents and religious heads; thus, the horror tropes get a second-hand deal. The scare scenes are mild and far from enticing, despite the dual exorcism in the narrative.
The performances are perfunctory. There is not a moment that you empathise or sympathise with the characters on screen, despite them explaining what evil is and how it manifests.
Overall, diehard fans of the genre will be disappointed.