Ellen Burstyn in "The Exorcist: Believer"

‘The Exorcist: Believer’ Trailer: Ellen Burstyn Is Now Fighting Demons Like Max Von Sydow Did

Pazuzu, is that you?

It seems that way in the first publicly released trailer for ‘The Exorcist: Believer’. This was already played at CinemaCon in April and absolutely freaked out audiences. Now, moviegoers can jump into their own Halloween season for themselves. Watch it below.

What’s most notable about this entire sequel is the fact that it’s the first time Ellen Burstyn returns as Chris MacNeill, the DC housewife terrorized when her daughter was possessed by a demon in the original ‘The Exorcist’ back in 1973. For all subsequent sequels (and one prequel), she was absent as the franchise went in other directions. But in director David Gordon Green’s take on this material, produced by Blumhouse, he appears to be doing what he did with his 2018 “Halloween”: Take an iconic star from the original film and show us how those terrifying events shaped his life in the decades since.

Naturally, Jamie Lee Curtis had appeared in several ‘Halloween’ sequels. So Burstyn’s appearance in an “The Exorcist” film after half a century is all the more surprising. And what’s unique is that she seems to have been brought in to fill the role that Max Von Sydow played in the original: herself as an exorcist. We see in her trailer that she has spent a lifetime pursuing the occult, following the events in which her daughter Regan (Linda Blair) was possessed by the demon Pazuzu. Now she also needs to help two girls who seem possessed, at least one of them, by a demon that could be Pazuzu.

“We’ve met before,” Burstyn says, as one of the girls hisses creepily at her, “Mother…”.

Mind you, Burstyn is 90 years old. Casting her in this is truly a singular gift, and something that immediately generates a lot more interest in “Believer.” She had been nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars for her performance in the original film (and won a year later for “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”) and was, along with Von Sydow in particular, representative of director William Friedkin’s first take on “elevated horror.” That original film, long sections (sometimes pretentious) slow and contemplative, was a blockbuster by fusing its stunning horror with elements of art house cinema. It’s hard to imagine that Burstyn, after 60 years of career, would return to her iconic role if there wasn’t something particularly ambitious in this script.

Watch it below. Universal will open “The Exorcist: Believer” on October 13. The new cast includes Leslie Odom Jr., Lidya Jewett, Olivia Marcum, Ann Dowd, Okwui Okpokwasili, Jennifer Nettles and Raphael Sbarge. It is now confirmed that a sequel titled ‘The Exorcist: Deceiver’ will be released on Easter weekend, April 18, 2025.