The Exorcist | Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan in talks to direct next film

exorcist mike flanagan
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Following the exit of David Gordon Green, Doctor Sleep and The Haunting Of Hill House director Mike Flanagan is in talks to make the next Exorcist.

Horror specialist Mike Flanagan – director of The Shining sequel Doctor Sleep and TV’s The Fall Of The House Of Usher, among other things – could be about to direct the next film in the Exorcist franchise.

The report, courtesy of Deadline, comes in the wake of the icy reception to 2023’s The Exorcist: Believer, intended to be the first part of a trilogy directed by David Gordon Green. After that film’s critical and financial disappointment, Green announced his departure from the franchise in January, and Blumhouse boss Jason Blum hinted that a future sequel would take a somewhat different approach.

“We are definitely going to make another Exorcist movie,” Blum said in March, “but I wanted more time to figure out what it would be. I have no idea what it’s going to be yet.”

Read more: The Exorcist: Believer review | Fails to make our heads spin

Given Flanagan’s experience as a writer, director and producer of well-received horror, it’s likely he’ll have plenty of ideas for an Exorcist sequel. As well as creating his own original genre fare – Flanagan broke through with the low-budget, inventive horror films Absentia (2011) and Oculus (2013) – he’s well versed in telling stories created by other authors and filmmakers. Gerald’s Game, the aforementioned Doctor Sleep and his upcoming The Life Of Chuck are all based on Stephen King yarns. The Fall Of The House Of Usher was (very) loosely inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s macabre tales.

Universal and Blumhouse spent an eye-watering $400m on the Exorcist rights, which means the two companies are looking for much higher returns than the middling $137m The Exorcist: Believer clawed in last year. Assuming Mike Flanagan does sign on for a sequel, the studios will doubtless hope he can make a movie that will make audiences levitate from their cinema seats.

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