Mike Flanagan in Talks to Direct the Next ‘Exorcist’ Movie, And Here's Why That Worries Me

 Mike Flanagan during the behind the scenes of Netflix's making of "Midnight Mass," Linda Blair Regan MaCneil in "The Exorcist".
Mike Flanagan during the behind the scenes of Netflix's making of "Midnight Mass," Linda Blair Regan MaCneil in "The Exorcist".
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Mike Flanagan is slowly becoming the maestro of the macabre. He is behind some of the most chilling and best horror movies and TV series in recent years. That includes The Haunting of Hill House and Bly Manor as well as incredible Stephen King adaptations like Gerald’s Game and Doctor Sleep. At present, he's also working on another King flick, the upcoming Life of Chuck. According to a recent report, the filmmaker could be in discussions to direct the confirmed Exorcist: Believer sequel. At first glance, this sounds like a match made in horror cinematic heaven. But, as a devoted fan of Flanagan and the original Exorcist (and Exorcist III) legacy, I find myself tangled in a web of excitement and concern.

Backed by Jason Blum, Believer hit theaters with a ton of anticipation on October 13, 2023. Despite the star power of Leslie Odom Jr., the legendary Ellen Burstyn and the return of Linda Blair's iconic character Regan MacNeil, the film fell short of the success expected by Blumhouse and Universal. Blum's recent remarks on a sequel alluded to a necessary overhaul of the series following the movie's less-than-stellar performance. With that, according to reporting from Deadline, a source close to Blum alleges that there is potentially a change in directorial reins from David Gordon Green to Mike Flanagan. So let's talk this out.

Why Flanagan’s Possible Involvement Concerns Me

David Gordon Green’s 2023 effort was supposed to be the first part of a new Exorcist trilogy, with Deceiver following and set for a 2025 release. However, following the poor box office receipts, disappointing critical reception of Believer and Green’s subsequent departure from the project, the entire trilogy's future was thrown into question. Enter Mike Flanagan, whose involvement suggests a likely shift in direction for the franchise.

As much as his directorial prowess excites me, I'm equally apprehensive. His storytelling is at its peak when he's given complete creative control, as seen in Flanagan's best TV and movies. However, stepping into a franchise with an already established new direction and following another director's groundwork could limit his ability to implement his vision fully.

The question is whether he'll be allowed to perform a comprehensive rewrite and truly make the next movie his own or if he will have to navigate within the confines of the precedents set by the ending of Believer.  The integrity and impact of his directorial contribution to the Exorcist franchise hinges on this creative freedom.

Why Flanagan’s Possible Involvement Excites Me

Given the opportunity to fully exercise his creative talents, Mike Flanagan could significantly rejuvenate the somewhat tired possession genre. The Oculus helmer excels at exploring the depths of his characters' psyches, infusing his distinctive style into their narratives. His ability to seamlessly meld Stanley Kubrick's and Stephen King's visions in Doctor Sleep, a pseudo-sequel to both the movie and the book, demonstrates his capacity to unite complex themes and styles satisfyingly, which bodes well for his potential involvement in the sequel to The Exorcist: Believer, where he could undoubtedly introduce a fresh and exciting perspective.

We will just have to wait and see how this story shakes out but, for now, Mike Flanagan fans can get excited for his upcoming Stephen King adaptation, The Life of Chuck. The movie doesn't have a release date but, if you want to know what upcoming horror flicks are headed to a theater near you, check out our 2024 movie schedule.

Those who want to check out The Exorcist: Believer for themselves can do just that by streaming it with a Prime Video subscription.