Mike Flanagan’s Exorcist Movie: Everything We Know About The Horror Reboot, And What We’re Excited To See

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From its visual effects to its disturbing performances to its legacy as an early entry in the demonic possession subgenre, William Friedkin’s The Exorcist remains one of the best horror movies of all time for a reason. Appropriately enough, it’s that soup-spewing je ne sais quoi that has made it so difficult for other filmmakers to craft sequels and prequels that come anywhere close to being as unnerving as just a few minutes alone with Linda Blair’s Regan. (Here’s our ranking of the Exorcist franchise’s films.) But now horror mastermind Mike Flanagan is adding a new demon-dashing entry to the slate of upcoming horror movies.

To only call Flanagan a filmmaker would be shortchanging both his talents and his resume, as he’s also responsible for some of horror TV’s most critically acclaimed series. After having helmed modern faves such as Oculus and Hush (which will soon be available to stream anew), Flanagan teamed up with Netflix for several different ghost-filled universes, from The Haunting of Hill House and its Bly Manor follow-up to Midnight Mass to The Fall of the House of Usher. (The latter still holds the title of being my favorite horror show.)

Flanagan is no stranger to using others’ work as a source — he’s currently working on two upcoming Stephen King adaptations — and Ouija: Origin of Evil proved him capable of delivering a sequel that completely outshined the original that he had nothing to do with. As such, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about this new iteration, so let’s walk backwards and up the stairs to tackle everything we know so far about the Blumhouse and Morgan Creek feature.

What Is The Exorcist’s Release Date?

The Pazuzu Statue in The Exorcist

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

At this point, it’s not entirely clear what this new project will be formally called, but even without a concrete title, Mike Flanagan’s new entry in The Exorcist franchise does have its release date already locked in for March 13, 2026. Yes, that does indeed mean that horror fans will be able to enjoy the flick’s hopefully palpable terror on the genre-friendly day of Friday the 13th. (Just don’t expect to find the F13 TV series Crystal Lake to debut anytime before that, since it’s likely not happening anymore.)

Mike Flanagan Is Both Writing And Directing

Mike Flanagan sitting in an armchair talking to Guillermo Del Toro about horror movies in Masters of Horror

(Image credit: Netflix)

As is the norm for the feature filmmaking side of Mike Flanagan’s career, he will be taking on multiple creative roles with his Exorcist franchise entry. Flanagan will write the script which he’ll then direct from, and will also be handling other efforts behind the scenes as a producer through his production shingle Red Room Pictures. (One can blindly presume he’ll also be handling editing duties, as it’s gone for all of his films.)

Here’s how the director reacted to the big news, per his statement in the announcement:

The Exorcist is one of the reasons I became a filmmaker, and it is an honor 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 favorite pieces of work, only makes this more exciting.

The new Exorcist film will also boast Flanagan’s longtime producing partner Trevor Noah handling producer duties via Intrepid Pictures. It will be the fourth project that Flanagan, Intrepid and Blumhouse Pictures have teamed up on, following 2013’s Oculus and 2016’s double dose of Hush and Ouija: Origin of Evil.

Flanagan was revealed to be in talks with Blumhouse in early May 2024 to be tackling some kind of an Exorcist project, but it was unclear at the time if it would be related to prior plans.

We Can Expect Another Amazing Mike Flanagan Cast Ensemble

The Usher family in courtroom in The Fall Of The House Of Usher

(Image credit: Netflix)

At the time of writing, no cast members have been announced for the next Exorcist film, but one of Flanagan’s most notable and enjoyable quirks is that he’s built up a cadre of recurring actors who fill the majority of the roles in his projects, with each new movie and TV show adding to the overall group of talents.

Of all the actors who appear frequently in Mike Flanagan’s projects, the ones who feature the most often are his A+ S.O. Kate Siegel (8), Henry Thomas (8), and Katie Parker (6), while Carla Gugino, Robert Longstreet and Samantha Sloyan have appeared in five projects thus far. If I were a betting horror fanatic, I’d put money on at least four of those names being part of whatever demonic possession is at the heart of the upcoming movie.

The New Film Isn’t An Exorcist Sequel, Will Be A ‘Radical New’ Take

Regan tied to bed in The Exorcist

(Image credit: YouTube)

At this point, the franchise consists of two direct Exorcist sequels, two alternate versions of a prequel, and 2023’s mostly standalone sequel. But it sounds like Mike Flanagan’s version could veer in a completely different direction that doesn’t tangibly connect to any of the other films. Which is to say, that’s how it sounds now, though that assertion could obviously change at any point ahead of production starting.

Blumhouse didn’t reveal any specific plot details in the initial announcement, instead referring to the upcoming project as a “radical new take” on The Exorcist. It was confirmed in the same announcement that this will 100% not be a sequel to David Gordon Green‘s The Exorcist: Believer, and that it will tell “an all-new story.”

Jason Blum shared the following thoughts about going back to the horror well with Mike Flanagan:

Mike’s voice and vision are indispensable for horror fans and we are excited to welcome him back to Blumhouse. I immediately responded to Mike’s new take on the world of The Exorcist and can’t wait for audiences to experience it.

While it isn’t so plainly stated there, Jason Blum’s wording makes it sound like Mike Flanagan was the inciting factor in this new Exorcist getting off the ground (much like Regan’s bed). Considering the interesting ways Flanagan has reworked hugely popular works by Stephen King, Henry James, Shirley Jackson, Edgar Allen Poe, and Christopher Pike for his various shows and movies, I’ve no hesitation putting all of my faith in the filmmaker finding the perfect way to approach this material with brand new eyes.

Universal Scrapped Its Trilogy Plans After The Exorcist: Believer’s Disappointing Box Office

Olivia O’Neill possessed in The Exorcist: Believer

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

In 2021, after Morgan Creek Entertainment started development for a new chapter in the Exorcist franchise, Universal and Peacock notoriously spent $400 million to land the distribution rights. The overall goal was to produce a trilogy of features, with Halloween‘s David Gordon Green as the core creative force. He reportedly worked heavily on a second film’s script, and wrote out an outline for the third film as well.

Unfortunately for all involved, The Exorcist: Believer did not deliver the kind of box office that would have justified interest in moving forward with the second two films. Its premiere date was shifted to avoid competition with Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour hitting theaters, and its opening weekend intake of $26.5 million was below expectations, and far below what would have been necessary to make good on the distribution money. It eventually pulled in $137 million worldwide, and was released on digital platforms just three weeks later.

At the time, the goal was still to make The Exorcist: Deceiver happen, though the lack of critical acclaim and the lower box office earnings made it pretty clear that franchise would need to go in a different direction. When Jason Blum addressed the franchise’s future in March 2024, the line in the sand was drawn, as he confirmed more Exorcist would happen, but indicated a new story direction would be required.

What Else We’re Excited To See From Mike Flanagan’s Exorcist Movie

Lasser Glass in Oculus Trailer

(Image credit: Relativity Media)

Mike Flanagan Develops Layered, Complicated Antagonists

Without going into spoilers for any of his projects that readers may not have watched yet, Flanagan’s filmography is filled with projects featuring freaky and memorable antagonists who may not always be as downright villainous as they appear, with relatable motivations and points of view. Any movie within the Exorcist franchise obviously has a deep, dark evil at its core, and I’m intrigued to see what kind of mythological lore will be explored in this new take, and how it’ll be put through the humanistic prism.

Families Are Often Key To Mike Flanagan’s Stories

From the Crains and Wingraves of Hill House and Bly Manor to the Torrences in Doctor Sleep to the Russells in Oculus to the Zanders in his Ouija sequel and beyond, Flanagan is a pro when it comes to setting stories around families, reagardless of whether the central relationships are loving or combative. And not just plain-toast biological families, either, as the Ushers featured several adopted siblings, while Midnight Club and Midnight Mass were as much about communal familes as legal ones. The Exorcist franchise obviously started with the MacNeils, and I’d guess the new project will also hinge on a loving group being torn apart by possession.

Few Directors Are Better With Creepy Visuals And Genuine Scares

Basically every Mike Flanagan project comes with the guarantee that viewers will be rewarded through rewatching. Whether it’s to find the cursed Lasser Glass easter eggs or to catch the plethora of hidden background ghosts, source material references, foreshadowing hints to future projects. While Doctor Sleep may not have been the most universally beloved movie, the attention to detail in all the scenes calling back to The Shining are pretty impeccable, and only get more fantastic upon rewatching.

While waiting to hear more about what’s on the way from this new Exorcist feature, many of Mike Flanagan’s past projects can be watched with a Netflix subscription, so keep those crucifixes close and stay tuned.

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