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The Exorcists (2023) Review

Yes, you read that title right, not The Exorcist but The Exorcists. And with a title like that could anyone else but The Asylum be responsible for it?

Father Ryland (Doug Bradley, Hellraiser, The Barn Part II) is in the cemetery reading sports scores to one of the deceased when he’s approached by Father Cortez (Victor Maraña, New World, Mistake). He comes bearing bad news, Ryland’s mentor, Father Murphy (Robert Donavan, That’s a Wrap, Killer Kate!) has passed away.

But before he passed he he told Cortez to find Ryland and ask him to help with a case of possession, something he hasn’t done since an exorcism went wrong and caused the death of the young boy he was reading to. Given the circumstances, he agrees to help.

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Meanwhile in Chicago, Sister Caroline (Denice Duff, Frogtown II, Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation) has tracked down Doctor Beckett (Kayla Fields, DC Down, Hospice) while she’s on vacation, It seems she has a pressing need for her specialized psychiatric skills, and I’m sure you can guess what that is. Her next move is even more unorthodox, she’s off to Miami to recruit Reverend Melody Bates (Kate Hodge, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, The Ones That Have Fallen) to assist with the case as well. She claims they need the exorcists to represent The Holy Trinity in what will be a round the clock exorcism.

Not content with one upping Friedkin’s classic by having three members of the clergy performing the exorcism, writer/director Jose Prendes (Headless Horseman, The Legend of La Llorona) sets the ceremony in a giant mausoleum for reasons I’m not sure about. Maybe it’s so a group of teens can break in to play with a Ouija board and cause all manner of complications. Because that’s what happens.

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This being an Asylum film, I shouldn’t have to tell you The Exorcists is nowhere near The Exorcist in tone or content. If you had any doubts, the first look at Huxley (Katie Silverman, Tales of Halloween, Vikes) tied to the bed and covered in sores should dispel them. Unfortunately, the scenes with the possessed girl lack the power of the original and the inventively trashy style of the various knockoffs.

One of the exorcists gets a nosebleed, another has his heart condition triggered so badly that he has to stop and take a pill. The closest any of this gets to thrilling is recognizing that the demon is voiced by scream queen Michelle Bauer (Demonwarp, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers).

Perhaps realizing that exorcisms are well past the point of being scary in and of themselves, The Exorcists tosses in several subplots ranging from possessed teens to demonic double crosses and ridiculous coincidences. I was hoping the teens would at least provide some thrills like the zombie-esque possessed in The Exorcism of God, but this is so poorly done even that was asking too much.

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With a bit more effort and something resembling a budget, The Exorcists could have been an enjoyable time killer. All the elements were there, but they’re buried in a sea of bad dialogue and trite possession tropes. When what is going on finally gets revealed, I thought the film would at least end on an exciting note, but it just limps along to an ending that’ll have you rolling your eyes.

It may only be the start of October, but The Exorcists is a strong contender for this year’s worst Halloween offering. The trailer might look good, but to quote Father Ryland quoting Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap!”.

The Asylum released The Exorcists into a handful of theaters for a limited run that ends on October 5th. It’s also available on Digital Platforms.

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3 thoughts on “The Exorcists (2023) Review”

  1. I watched it and I gave the beginning a chance but it wasted a lot of my time. There is not enough back story to make it interesting and intriguing.

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