Movie Reviews

Mike Flanagan Doesn't Need The Exorcist (But The Exorcist Needs Mike Flanagan)


  • Mike Flanagan’s potential involvement in The Exorcist franchise could be a make or break moment for the director’s career.
  • The history of The Exorcist movies has been marred by disappointing critical ratings and box office performance.
  • Despite past failures, the allure of directing an iconic horror sequel like The Exorcist may be too strong for Flanagan to resist.



It was recently revealed by Deadline that notable horror writer and director Mike Flanagan is in talks to take the helm of the next The Exorcist movie. In 2023, The Exorcist film franchise was revived with The Exorcist: Believer, directed by David Gordon Green. Similar to the original 1973 horror film, The Exorcist: Believer follows two young girls who, after wandering into the woods, return possessed by demons. Their families then must come together to help save their daughters. Despite being connected to a major horror franchise, the 2023 film had a disappointing performance critically and at the box office.

Although Mike Flanagan does not have the same horror credentials as The Exorcist series, he is certainly a director to watch. He first came on the radar in the late 2010s when he began writing and directing horror adaptations for Netflix, including series like The Fall of the House of Usher and The Haunting of Hill House, and movies like Gerald’s Game More recently, Flanagan has signed onto two more big name Stephen King adaptations, The Life of Chuck and The Dark Tower. Ultimately, Flanagan is on a hot streak, and The Exorcist could make or break him.


There’s No Way The Exorcist Reboot Trilogy Happens Now, Right?

After one failed film and a few major setbacks, it seems virtually impossible that Blumhouse and Universal will continue the Exorcist reboot trilogy.

Directing The Exorcist: Believer’s Follow-Up Is A Risk Mike Flanagan Doesn’t Need To Take

The Exorcist may be a pointless endeavor

The recent news about Mike Flanagan potentially signing on to direct the next The Exorcist movie is both good and bad news. Although Mike Flanagan has been at the helm of some truly awesome and exciting horror projects, he may not be able to make everything he touches turn to gold. The Exorcist in particular is a risky project for the director. Over the years, The Exorcist film franchise has accumulated a total of six movies. The original The Exorcist earned acclaim and has remained a staple of the horror genre. Its consequent sequels, on the other hand, have not.

The Exorcist Movies

Release Years

The Exorcist


The Exorcist II: The Heretic


The Exorcist III


Exorcist: The Beginning


Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist


The Exorcist: Believer


There has not been an Exorcist sequel that has earned a Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score amounting to 60% or more. All five of the films have fairly bad critical ratings, and their box office earnings aren’t much better. For example, The Exorcist II earned only $30 million at the box office, and was so poorly received that audiences in the theaters were laughing. Casting has not helped this problem either. Whether it’s Stellan Skarsgård or Leslie Odom Jr., The Exorcist movies have never been able to live up to their predecessor, making Flanagan’s involvement in the franchise incredibly dicey.

The Exorcist Needs A Major Horror Director Like Mike Flanagan After Believer’s Struggles

The Exorcist needs a strong director

Rahul Kohli Screaming in Mike Flanagan's The Fall of the House of Usher

Despite the fact that signing onto The Exorcist could be a huge risk for Mike Flanagan, The Exorcist franchise needs someone like him. These movies have been disappointing audiences since 1977, and it is due time for a change, especially if there are already two more Exorcist movies planned for the future. If they are going to be made, then they might as well hire a director with a strong track record. If Mike Flanagan signs onto direct The Exorcist: Deceiver, then he could potentially save the franchise once and for all. That is, if all things go well.

As The Exorcist movies have flopped over the years, it seems their directors are unable to help.

The Exorcist
movie has had a different director, and aside from William Friedkin in 1973, none of them have been able to execute a good movie.

One part of this may be because certain directors didn’t do horror movies often or were fairly new to directing, however, even the veteran horror directors couldn’t fix the franchise. Therefore, it is unsurprising that David Gordon Green left The Exorcist: Believer after its failure, but hopefully, it means Flanagan can try his shot.

Why The Lure Of The Exorcist May Be Too Strong For Mike Flanagan To Turn Down

The Exorcist still has major clout

A possessed Regan MacNeil glares at the camera in The Exorcist

Regardless of the risks and benefits to both Mike Flanagan and The Exorcist franchise, it may be impossible for Flanagan to turn this opportunity down.The Exorcist may have a long history of failure, but the first movie’s success is so great that, in many ways, it eclipses what has gone wrong since. The Exorcist is a pillar of horror movies, and therefore, it would be difficult to pass up the chance to direct its sequel, even despite past failings. It is The Exorcist’s irresistible clout that may mean Mike Flanagan will take up the reins of the horror franchise.

There are two Exorcist movies planned in the coming years, The Exorcist: Deceiver and another untitled sequel.

If Mike Flanagan does choose to direct The Exorcist: Deceiver, it will not be the end of the world. In the worst case scenario, Flanagan’s The Exorcist will flop, casting a shadow over his mostly strong resume and continuing the franchise’s disappointing history. However, in the best case, Flanagan could create a really great movie that not only redeems The Exorcist franchise, but also acts as further proof that Mike Flanagan has what it takes in this industry.

Exorcist Movie Poster

The Exorcist

William Friedkin

Release Date
December 26, 1973

Hoya Productions

Warner Bros. Pictures

William Peter Blatty

Max Von Sydow , Linda Blair , Lee J. Cobb , Ellen Burstyn , Jason Miller , Kitty Winn , Jack MacGowran

122 minutes

Exorcist: The Beginning , Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist

$12 million

Back to top button