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The Exorcist: Believer's New Trailer Makes A Classic Horror Mistake, But It's The Rare Case Where I'm Not Complaining

 Possessed Angela and Katherine in The Exorcist: Believer
Possessed Angela and Katherine in The Exorcist: Believer

Though we’re still not quite officially in the Halloween season just yet, genre fanatics can spend close to three minutes wading around in those familiar feelings thanks to the newest trailer for The Exorcist: Believer. This movie looks like an exercise in spine-tingling dread, with the modern day Halloween trilogy director David Gordon Green using William Friedkin’s seminal classic The Exorcist as the launching point for his latest re-quel. While I should be frustrated that this second promo makes the exact same horror-trailer mistake as the first preview, I don’t actually feel the urge to complain about it here.

The Exorcist: Believer Trailer's Big Sin

As seen above, Universal Pictures delivered another super-lengthy look at The Exorcist: Believer, and by nearly every applicable metric, entirely too much footage is on display. Which didn’t initially seem like it’d be the case, considering the first chunk of the vid is taken from a single scene. But once that opening gives way to explaining the story, it seems like the entire film's structure gets laid out accordingly and sequentially, with so-o-o-o much being shown in short bursts.


I get that the studio wants to show audiences exactly what Green is bringing to the table, and that this won't be anything like his Halloween films. And by all means, I can only applaud the idea of drilling down on proving that the child actors utilized in Believer appear to be godsends. But considering the mothership film is one of horror's most effective slow-burns, it's kind of wild that these first two trailers have gone THIS hard on showing audiences the possessed Angela (Lidya Jewett) and Kathering (Olivia O'Neill) in so many different contexts.

By the time The Exorcist arrived at Linda Blair's iconic demonic performance, the movie had earned the right to take things in such over-the-top directions, and it was a shift in tone and cinematic energy. The Exorcist: Believer, meanwhile, seemingly spends more trailer time focused on its villainous threats than anything else, which is usually the wrong way to go with legacy horror.

Why I'm Not Really Complaining About It

So, the reason why showing too much footage in a trailer is generally considered a bad thing is wholly tied to the most disappointing examples, such as times when all the big scares are teased in the previews, or when the films themselves are so boring and slow that they pale in comparison to their rapidly paced trailers. And let's face it, there have definitely been examples of trailers showing off too much footage, and none of it looked great in the first place.

But great Pazuzu in heaven, I find it hard to authentically bitch about The Exorcist: Believer's previews given how fucking awesome they look. Like, would it have been cool to not know that the plot of the movie revolved around two possessed girls, allowing for that story element to be discovered through watching the finished product? Yeah, probably, but hot damn, it's hard to argue against promoting that as such a huge draw, given how often possession films adhere to just one character being used as a cypher for evil.

Had The Exorcist: Believer held back on all the freaky-deakiness, I might have been more hesitant about making sure to see it in theaters, as someone who wasn't all that thrilled with where David Gordon Green took Halloween Kills. But just that stomach-churning moment of Katherine crying about not wanting to go to Hell was enough to wipe the slate clean and make this movie a guaranteed big-screen experience.

But just because it works here doesn't mean it'll work for everything else, Hollywood, so don't start making this the continued normal.

The Exorcist: Believer is hitting theaters on October 6, 2023, after having shifted its release date to avoid all things Taylor Swift. While waiting, check out all the other upcoming horror movies heading to theaters in 2023 and beyond.