The Exorcist | Mike Flanagan confirmed as director of ‘bold’ new film

Horror prequel Exorcist: The Beginning
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Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan will take the Exorcist series in a ‘fresh, bold’ direction following the disappointing reception to 2023’s The Exorcist: Believer.

Universal has confirmed the rumours that have been whirling around for some time now, announcing that Mike Flanagan will be stepping into the director’s chair to oversee the future of The Exorcist. The move follows the exit of David Gordon Green after last year’s franchise relaunch, The Exorcist: Believer failed to ignite much in the way of audience interest. Although the film did ultimately earn $136m at the global box office from a $30m budget, the responses to the film was largely muted. Universal and Blumhouse quickly decided that as an opening salvo for the return of a big horror franchise, it wasn’t good enough.

The studio and Gordon Green parted ways back in January and the rumour mill began to suggest that Flanagan might be the person to take the hot seat next. With those earlier reports now confirmed, Flanagan has also indicated that his Exorcist film will take the franchise in a new direction, meaning those two sequels to The Exorcist: Believer that Blumhouse originally had planned have been officially dropped.

Speaking about his appointment, Flanagan stated (via Dark Horizons): “The Exorcist is one of the reasons I became a filmmaker, and it is an honour to have the chance to try something fresh, bold, and terrifying within its universe. Reuniting with my friends at Blumhouse, with whom I’ve made some of my favourite pieces of work, only makes this more exciting.”

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

Green has recently wrapped directing The Life Of Chuck, another Stephen King adaptation. He’s also said to be working on an adaptation of King’s dark fantasy opus, The Dark Tower, which may or may not be staged across theatrical and television. We’ve known about that project for a couple of years now but we don’t know what state of development it’s in. Should Flanagan’s new take on The Exorcist prove to be popular, we might find ourself waiting even longer for The Dark Tower to materialise.

While Flanagan’s 2019 film adaptation of Doctor Sleep didn’t perform well enough commercially to warrant further films in the series, it certainly has its admirers. On the small screen Flanagan has produced some of the most impactful horror storytelling of the last decade, whether it be Midnight Mass, The Haunting Of Hill House or last year’s take on Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall Of The House Of Usher.

We don’t know any production details as of yet but when we do hear more, we’ll let you know.

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