Does the power of the critic compel you?  

If so, please skip “The Exorcist: Believer,” a pale imitation of one of the finest horror films ever made.  

‘The Exorcist: Believer’ (IMDb)

The original “The Exorcist” remains one of my favorite movies of all time. It still scares the daylights out of me. This sequel to the original, on the other hand, had me looking at my watch. 

This one – which starts with an interesting premise – is a waste of your time and the ensemble’s talent.  

Victor (Leslie Odom Jr., “One Night in Miami”) loses his wife in an earthquake in Haiti. Now, years later, he is raising his teenage daughter Angela (Lidya Jewett, “Good Girls”) alone.  

Angela and her friend go missing after they head to the woods to perform a strange ritual. The girls are found three days later. Both display strange behaviors and neither can remember their previous whereabouts. At first, doctors think the girls have been traumatized from some ghastly experience, and perhaps their behaviors are a manifestation of mental issues.  

But you already guessed it: You’re going to get two exorcisms for the price of one. 

David Gordon Green helms this disappointing story that takes almost two hours to tell. I could almost see a group of writers checking off boxes: Crucifix scare? Yep. Riffs on the same dialogue as the first movie? Yep. Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” music? Yep. 

Bring back Ellen Burstyn in her original role as Chris MacNeil? Yep.  

This is a rare case of the trailer being much more engaging than the actual film is. Once you know where this is going, there are few scares along the way because it covers such familiar ground. Substance is woefully lacking in the characters and the plot.  

The only thing scary about the movie is just how bland it is.  

1 star 

Rated: R for violence, foul language, disturbing images and sexual references.  

Running time: Just a few minutes shy of two hours. 

Only in theaters.  

Watch the trailer here