Where critics were increasingly divided on Green’s “Halloween” trilogy the further along it went, they’re comparatively unified in their disdain for “Believer” so far. At the time of writing, the film has a critics’ score of only 25% on Rotten Tomatoes after 64 reviews. In his own review for /Film, Witney Seibold wrote, “‘The Exorcist: Believer’ is as haphazard, uninteresting, and frustratingly shallow as any of the many, many, many ‘Exorcist’ imitators.” He also noted that it’s better than the more heavily derided “Exorcist” films before it while also being the least interesting, calling it “a rote, choppy thriller that forgets to scare us.”
Echoing that sentiment, Mashable’s Belen Edwards acknowledged the original “Exorcist” is “a tough act to follow” in her review, but felt that Green’s sequel nevertheless commits the cardinal sin of simply being boring. “Limited scares, underdeveloped characters, and a hackneyed message about unity will make you yearn for escape — even as the movie tees up for a sequel,” she explained.
Indeed, where you could readily find critics eager and willing to defend Green’s “Halloween” sequels (especially “Halloween Ends”), even some of the more positive reviews for “Believer” tend to come with a big ol’ asterisk. For example, The Guardian’s Benjamin Lee observed that it’s easier to appreciate the film as a fun schlockfest rather than a continuation of Friedkin’s classic:
“Taken as just that, it’s serviceable; a silly, gloopy Halloween shocker that offers just about enough goofy entertainment for an undemanding fright night crowd. But it might be close to impossible for those with deep reverence for the original, of which there are a great many, to take it as such, Green’s messy script, co-written with Peter Sattler, also boldly insisting itself as a worthy successor.”