The Exorcist: Believer (2023)- Power Of Women In Horror Cinema

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.

The Exorcist: Believer breaks free from stereotypes

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.

The Exorcist: Believer

Strength and resilience in The Exorcist: Believer

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.

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Revisiting iconic characters

“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.

A positive shift in the horror genre

The Exorcist 2023

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.

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Image source: CanvaPro

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About the Author

Sukanya Basu Mallik

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. Bestowed with Best Manuscript read more...

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