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The Exorcist: Believer refuses to adhere to the traditional stereotypes often associated with female characters in horror films.
The world of cinema has evolved significantly over the years, and with it, the portrayal of women on the big screen. Gone are the days when women were confined to passive, one-dimensional roles in film. The Exorcist: Believer (2023), the latest instalment in the iconic “Exorcist” franchise, serves as a testament to the transformation of women’s roles in cinema.
This essay explores the theme of women’s empowerment in the movie and how it contributes to reshaping traditional gender dynamics in the horror genre.
One of the most notable aspects of The Exorcist: Believer is its refusal to adhere to the traditional stereotypes often associated with female characters in horror films. In the past, women were frequently portrayed as helpless victims, damsels in distress, or mere props to advance the male protagonist’s storyline.
However, this film takes a bold step in the opposite direction.
Angela, portrayed brilliantly by Olivia Marcum, is at the forefront of the narrative. A young girl grappling with the loss of her mother, Angela embarks on a quest of self-discovery and empowerment. Her courage and determination drive the story, breaking free from the conventional horror film trope of women as passive observers.
Katherine, Angela’s best friend, portrayed by Lidya Jewett, adds depth and complexity to the narrative. Katherine is not merely a supporting character; she is a source of strength and resilience. Her character is instrumental in confronting the supernatural forces at play, showcasing the kind of resilience rarely seen in horror films.
Ann, the compassionate nurse neighbour played by Ann Dowd, is another example of the film’s commitment to portraying women as powerful figures. Ann’s resourcefulness and unwavering dedication to helping Angela and her father play a crucial role in unravelling the plot’s mysteries.
“The Exorcist: Believer” also revisits the iconic characters of Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) and Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) from the original “Exorcist.” Both characters continue to symbolize strength and resilience, but their roles have evolved significantly. Chris, now a renowned expert on exorcisms, showcases her transformation from a distressed mother to a formidable figure in the world of supernatural research.
Regan’s journey from being a possessed child to a survivor and a symbol of resilience is a testament to the film’s theme of female empowerment. The reunion between Chris and Regan in the film serves as a powerful moment of forgiveness and reconciliation, highlighting the strength of their bond.
In an industry often criticized for its portrayal of women, The Exorcist: Believer represents a positive shift in the horror genre. The film empowers its female characters, allowing them to take centre stage, shape the narrative, and make significant contributions to the story’s overall impact.
The Exorcist: Believer challenges the age-old stereotypes of women in horror films and presents a refreshing take on female empowerment. Through well-written characters and compelling performances, the movie demonstrates that women can be strong, resilient, and central to the horror genre’s storytelling.
As cinema continues to evolve, it is crucial to celebrate and encourage such positive representations of women’s power on screen, ultimately reshaping the landscape of film for the better.
Image source: CanvaPro
Sukanya Basu Mallik's works have been featured on Reader’s Digest, Times of India, Sahitya
Akademi, Writer's life UK, AIPF Int. Anthology ( Diverse city youth contest- Austin, US) etc.
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If her MIL had accepted her with some affection, wouldn't they have built a mutually happier relationship by now?
The incident took place ten years ago.
Smita could visit her mother only in summers when her daughter had school holidays. Her daughter also enjoyed meeting her Nani, and both of them had done their reservations for a week. A month before their visit, her husband told her, “My mom is coming for 4-5 months!”
Smita shuddered. She knew the repercussions. She would have to hear sarcastic comments from her mother-in-law for visiting her mother. She may make these comments directly only a bit, but her servants would be flooded with the words, “How horrible she is! She leaves me and goes!”
Are we so swayed by star power and the 'entertainment' quotient of cinema that satisfies our carnal instincts that we choose to ignore our own subconscious mind which always knows what is right and what is wrong?
Trigger Warning: This has graphic descriptions of violence and may be triggering to survivors and victims of violence.
Do you remember your first exposure to an extremely violent act or the aftermath of a violent act?
I am pretty sure for most of us it would be through cinema. But I remember very vividly my first exposure to aftermath of an unbelievably grotesque violent act in real life. It was as a student at a Dental College and Hospital.
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