The Exorcist: Believer Ending Explained

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Warning: Contains SPOILERS for The Exorcist: Believer!


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Summary

  • The final exorcism in The Exorcist: Believer brings major revelations, death, and sets up a new trilogy of movies.
  • The demon reveals that Victor chose to save his wife over Angela, who survives as Katherine is pulled to Hell after her death.
  • Linda Blair returns as Regan in The Exorcist: Believer to reunite with Ellen Burstyn, possibly setting up a bigger role for the MacNeils in The Exorcist: Deceiver.

The Exorcist: Believer‘s ending revolves around a final exorcism to save Katherine and Angela’s lives, and the event includes major revelations, death, and set up for a new trilogy of movies. Picking up almost 50 years after the original The Exorcist‘s story, the sequel shifts the franchise’s focus to new families whose lives are changed when their daughters become possessed by demons. This brings Victor (Leslie Odom Jr.) to find Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) in the hope that she’ll help the two families save the young girls. Ultimately, the fate of the girls is put in the hands of their parents and various spiritual leaders.

It is no surprise that The Exorcist: Believer builds to a final exorcism that puts the fates of Katherine (Olivia O’Neill) and Angela (Lidya Jewett) in the balance. This comes after Angela is confined to a mental institution while Katherine’s parents attempt to help her at home. Chris is absent from the final exorcism after being stabbed in the eyes by Katherine, but she encourages Victor to recruit different people from all types of backgrounds and religious beliefs to help perform the final exorcism. The entire story wraps up rather neatly as there is no The Exorcist: Believer post-credits scene, but the final revelations still leave room for sequels.

The Exorcist: Believer’s Final Exorcism & Death Choice Explained

Lidya Jewett and Olivia O'Neill in The Exorcist: Believer
Lidya Jewett and Olivia O’Neill in The Exorcist: Believer

The final exorcism in The Exorcist: Believer takes place at Victor’s house. Katherine and Angela are both brought to the location after it is fitted for an exorcism. Victor is joined by Katherine’s parents, the pastor at Katherine’s church, Victor’s nurse neighbor who previously wanted to be a nun, a local root doctor, and another one of Victor’s neighbors who believes in God. The plan immediately goes awry when the Catholic priest tells them he cannot lead the exorcism as promised, but he passes leadership to the nurse, Ann (Ann Dowd).

The initial attempts to get the demon out of the girls are unsuccessful, as they mock Ann for her past, but the root doctor helps turn the night around. This leads to the demon revealing an impossible choice has to be made among the people in attendance; they must choose which girl lives and which one dies. The demon states that only one of them will survive, which connects to a deadly decision from Victor’s past. While Victor and Katherine’s mom Miranda (Jennifer Nettles) agree that they cannot and will not make that choice, Katherine’s dad Tony (Norbert Leo Butz) panics and tells the demon he chooses Katherine to live.

Related: When Will The Exorcist: Believer Release On Streaming?

It initially appears as if Tony’s decision is accepted by the demon, as Angela begins to float in the air before collapsing on the ground with no heartbeat and Katherine begins talking and looking like normal. However, this is where the demon’s deceitful nature comes into play, as Angela begins to breathe again but Katherine dies. While attempts are made to save Katherine’s life, she is taken away from the world of living. The death choice made by Tony in The Exorcist: Believer mirrors the one Victor made in his past, where who is chosen to live actually dies.

Victor’s Decision To Save His Wife Not Angela Is Revealed

Ellen Burstyn and Leslie Odom Jr. in The Exorcist: Believer
Ellen Burstyn and Leslie Odom Jr. in The Exorcist: Believer

One of the big revelations in how The Exorcist: Believer ends goes back to the movie’s opening sequence which results in the death of Victor’s wife. An earthquake in Haiti leaves his pregnant wife with severe injuries, and Victor is told that he must make a difficult decision to choose between keeping his wife or unborn baby girl alive. His wife’s wish was for him to protect the child at all costs, and the fact that Angela is alive after the 13-year time jump indicates that he followed through.

It is only during the exorcism that the demon reveals to everyone that Victor actually chose to save his wife instead of Angela, but the baby survived the operation instead. The revelation that Victor chose his wife over Angela recontextualizes much of their relationship. This is not something that Angela knew on her own, but it does explain why Victor is so protective and watchful over her now. The Exorcist: Believer‘s scary focus means there is no time for Victor and Angela to talk about the revelation after she gets better, but it would not be surprising if this puts a strain on their relationship going forward if she remembers.

Where Katherine Ends Up In The Exorcist: Believer

Close up of a little girl from Exorcist: Believer

Angela surviving the exorcism leaves her with a clear fate as she returns to school, but where Katherine ends up in The Exorcist: Believer is more tragic. The movie indicates that she is pulled to Hell after her death. Katherine is shown in the woods again before she begins to be pulled underwater by many hands. This appears to be a visual representation of Katherine being taken to Hell by demons after she is tricked into being the sacrifice. It is unclear if The Exorcist: Believer is the last the franchise will show of Katherine or if her experience in Hell will factor into the sequel somehow.

Regan Returns In The Exorcist: Believer’s Final Scenes

Custom image of Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil in The Exorcist: Believer and Linda Blair as Regan in The Exorcist.

The biggest surprise of the movie’s ending is Linda Blair’s return as Regan in The Exorcist: Believer. The movie makes multiple references to what happened to Regan after The Exorcist, but she is not an active part of the story. Her fate is instead left as a lingering mystery for most of the runtime. Thankfully, The Exorcist: Believer confirms Regan is alive and well by bringing Linda Blair back for a quick cameo. Regan is shown reuniting with Chris in the hospital during one of the final scenes. The appearance is an indication that viewers could see much more of Regan in The Exorcist: Deceiver.

Is The Exorcist: Believer’s Demon The Same As The Exorcist’s?

Regan rises from her bed in The Exorcist

One story point in The Exorcist: Believer that could create some confusion is the identity of the main demon that possesses Katherine and Angela. It is never named, but there are references made that the demon knows Chris and that she’s encountered this spiritual being before. Despite the implication that The Exorcist: Believer‘s demon is Pazuzu, it has been confirmed that this is not the case. Director David Gordon Green revealed as much during interviews pre-release (via IGN), noting that the sequel has a new demon. However, he refuses to confirm the identity of the new demon, and The Exorcist: Believer does not confirm it either.

Did The Haitian Blessing Of Protection Save Angela’s Life?

Lidya Jewett as Angela Fielding Staring Into Space in The Exorcist Believer

The fact that Angela’s life is saved in The Exorcist: Believer might also have more to it than meets the eye. During the final moments, flashes of the blessing of protection Angela’s mom gets while she is still pregnant are shown. This could mean that the blessing is actually what saved Angela’s life, making the parallels to Victor’s death choice before a coincidence. This would mean that the blessing is strong enough to prevent the demon from killing Angela but still allows her to be possessed. Ultimately, it is up to each viewer to decide which reading they want to believe.

How The Exorcist: Believer Sets Up The Sequel, The Exorcist: Deceiver

Leslie Odom Jr and Ellen Burstyn in The Exorcist Believer Edited

Considering Universal announced The Exorcist: Believer as the start of a new trilogy, it is no surprise that the ending leaves the door open for its sequel. The follow-up is confirmed to be called The Exorcist: Deceiver, which indicates that there is more to what audiences witness here. The pastor specifically calls the demon a deceiver after the initial proposal of the death choice, so that could be a sign that Katherine and Angela’s fates are not quite as sealed as believed. In any case, there is no doubt that the demon will return in some form, possibly pulling on the grief Katherine’s parents struggle with.

The Exorcist: Deceiver‘s story is also sure to build on Chris and Regan’s reunion too. The decision to bring Linda Blair back for a quick scene is certainly meant to get audiences excited to have her and Ellen Burstyn play bigger roles in the sequel. Both actresses had plenty of input on The Exorcist: Believer, and while their roles in the sequel are not yet officially confirmed, the intention is rather clear. The question then becomes if The Exorcist: Deceiver will fully shift the franchise’s focus back to the MacNeil family or if Victor, Angela, and others will remain prominently featured.

The Real Meaning Of The Exorcist: Believer’s Ending

The Exorcist: Believer: Ellen Burstyn reprising her role as Chris MacNeil

The meaning of The Exorcist: Believer‘s ending is one of hope and belief. Despite it being a horror movie about the demonic possession of two young girls that features brutal deaths, The Exorcist: Believer leaves audiences with a message that believing in the good, and even God, is what everyone needs. It is seemingly only after Victor believes that the exorcism can work and reconnects with his daughter through his wife’s scarf that his attitude and her fate begin to change. If there is any doubt about The Exorcist: Believer‘s true meaning of hope and belief, the final voice-over monologue provided by Ann Dowd makes it clear.

Source: IGN

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