Do You Need to Watch The Exorcist and it’s Sequels Before Exorcist Believer?

by Drew Kopp
Image: Warner Bros.

The Exorcist: Believer is the latest in a long line of legacy sequels intended to revive interest in a long-dead horror franchise. The Exorcist, which hit theaters in 1973, traumatized contemporary audiences, revolutionized the world of cinematic horror, and spawned multiple sequels that wove a massive, interconnected narrative that follows. This begs the question: do you need to watch the original The Exorcist and all its sequels before heading to theaters to check out The Exorcist: Believer?

Do You Need to Watch The Exorcist Before The Exorcist: Believer?

Image: Warner Bros.

You should seriously consider watching the original The Exorcist film before you see The Exorcist: Believer. Among many of the other legacy sequels released in recent years, The Exorcist: Believer is a direct sequel to the original in its franchise. The protagonist of The Exorcist, Chris Macneil, is a prominent character in The Exorcist: Believer, and she and her daughter Regan’s harrowing encounter with a demon serves as the driving force behind the parents of two possessed girls’ decision to seek her out and enlist her aid.

Even if you are one of those horror fans who don’t put a lot of stock into the story of horror films, The Exorcist is widely regarded as one of the greatest horror films ever made, and I can say from experience that it still holds up exceptionally well. If you’re in the mood to scare yourself stupid this October, I highly recommend watching The Exorcist if you haven’t seen it already.

Related: Do You Need to Watch Black Mirror in Order?

Do You Need To Watch The Exorcist Sequels Before The Exorcist: Believer?

The Exorcist: Believer is directed by David Gordon Green, who also directed and co-wrote the Halloween legacy sequels: Halloween, Halloween Kills, and Halloween Ends. Much like this reboot trilogy, The Exorcist: Believer completely ignores the events of The Exorcist sequel films. As a result, you don’t have to watch The Exorcist‘s sequels before seeing The Exorcist: Believer.

With that being said, it’s possible that The Exorcist: Believer will feature references and easter eggs to the sequels (and prequels) that it was created to cleanse from continuity, so it might be worth checking them out if you want to know what to look for. However, I feel obligated to warn you that none of The Exorcist‘s sequels come even remotely close to re-capturing the terrifying spirit of their predecessor, so be ready to slog through a series of mediocre horror films if you’re serious about watching them.

- This article was updated on October 4th, 2023

About The Author

Drew Kopp has been a writer at Attack of the Fanboy for three months and has covered Baldur's Gate 3, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Ahsoka. He has a Bachelor's in Creative Writing and loves writing about indie games and celebrity gossip. When he isn't writing, he can be found reading fantasy books or rocking out as Bard in Dungeons & Dragons.