The Exorcist: Believer was released worldwide one day ago and already I feel – no pun intended – dispirited about the exceedingly negative critical response. Did I love the film? No. But I certainly liked the experience. I thought the film was respectable and I certainly felt engaged. I appreciated the slow build. Moments that appeared corny in the trailer (the church scene, the flickering lights) were very effective in their full realisation.

Why see – or why construct, even – a new Exorcist film? It can never have the shock or horror value of its illustrious original, sure. But what were the other attractions of The Exorcist? Creepiness, intensity, a great sound design, pathos, nuance, strong performances – and The Exorcist: Believer has all of these.

In a way, Believer is the film you would have expected the first Exorcist sequel to be (rather than the florid tonal-reset that Exorcist II: The Heretic actually was): the filmmakers abundantly keen to showcase another possession and cameo some of its original cast, but a little more tentative in going for the shocks (how exactly do you top masturbation with a crucifix?) and a little less delicate in pushing a spiritual message.

I’d welcome a trilogy, as Universal apparently has planned. (But God knows if these reviews will kill such plans…over to you, movie-goers.) David Gordon Green’s Halloween trilogy emerged as an interesting exploration of small-town traumas - as much as the genre prerogatives can allow, anyway - which albeit ultimately earned the wrath of a fanbase who believed each of the three films should place Michael Myers front and centre. Green hasn’t been forgiven yet, and The Exorcist: Believer isn’t ground-breaking enough to give him a reprieve.

Or, worse still, may deny him another trilogy.

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