Mike Flanagan’s Exorcist Movie Won’t Be A Sequel to Believer

Mike Flanagan’s Exorcist Movie Won’t Be A Sequel to Believer

If most other filmmakers promised a “fresh, bold” take on a horror classic, I’d be skeptical. However, Flanagan has a proven track record both with honoring what has gone before and adding enough original ideas to an old story to make it interesting again. His adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Shining” sequel, “Doctor Sleep,” was so good that it healed an old wound for King — who famously hated Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of his original novel. “I read the script very, very carefully and I said to myself, ‘Everything that I ever disliked about the Kubrick version of ‘The Shining’ is redeemed for me here,'” said King.

Flanagan will both write and direct the next “Exorcist” film, as well as produce it. This is particularly reassuring because Flanagan’s more recent Netflix horror shows, “The Midnight Club” and “The Fall of the House of Usher,” saw him sharing directing duties and were noticeably worse than his first two series, “The Haunting of Hill House” and “Midnight Mass,” for which he directed every episode. While every movie is obviously a collaborative work, Flanagan is at his best when he’s a true auteur.

Whether he’ll be able to deliver the box office results that the “Exorcist” franchise needs is another matter. While “Doctor Sleep” was highly praised by critics and fans alike, it was a commercial dud with a global box office take of just $72.3 million against a budget in the $50 million range. And since most of Flanagan’s other work has been on the streaming side, he’s largely untested in theaters. 

Frankly, expecting any “Exorcist” sequel to recoup the money spent by Universal is unrealistic. The fairest thing would be to write off that $400 million as a moment of corporate madness and judge Flanagan’s film only against its own budget. Either that, or pray to Pazuzu for a demonic miracle.

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