Incarnate is not your average exorcism movie. Just check out the harrowing new trailer:
Forget the priests and the holy water—how about getting inside the head of the possessed, and chasing the demon out?
In Incarnate, Aaron Eckhart plays an “unconventional exorcist,” who’s put to the ultimate test when faced with a possessed 11-year-old boy. “Of course we sent in the best exorcists,” a voiceover says in the trailer, as a Max von Sydow-looking priest approaches the boy. The voiceover continues: “But they failed.” Then the boy snaps the neck of the priest.
This clever new take on the exorcism plot, plus the fact that this film comes from the producers of Insidious, Paranormal Activity, and The Purge is enough to make it a must-see in our book. It also leaves us wondering what, exactly, this guy would have seen inside Regan’s mind, had he been hanging around Georgetown in the ’70s.
It’s a well-known fact that the “demonic possession” genre, as we know it today, exists because of the wild success of William Friedkin’s 1973 film, The Exorcist. Audiences were deeply shocked to see a child’s innocence corrupted, as the Devil used young Regan MacNeil as an agent for evil. Myriad possession films have followed The Exorcist‘s formula in the years since: an individual—usually a prepubescent or pubescent person—starts experiencing “bizarre” symptoms, that fall well outside the range of raging hormones. Eventually, a priest or some other religious agent is brought onto the scene, to grapple with the invading demons strictly through faith, insisting that the power of Christ compels them to release their human prisoners.
In all of these films, it is ultimately—and only—faith that can save the possessed individual. Incarnate’s tagline, “faith has failed us,” begins to unravel this trope before the movie even begins. In the film, Aaron Eckhart, as a scientist, does not write off demonic possession as religious lore. Rather, he puts the afflicted’s mind at the center of the drama, and chases the demon out of the sufferer’s subconscious. By bringing demonic possession into the realm of the psychological, rather than the religious, Incarnate offers viewers a fresh and terrifying twist on the exorcism genre.
So: what do you think? Is this the brilliant new demonic possession flick we’ve been waiting for? Watch and decide.
“Incarnate” comes out December 2, 2016.
Still from "Incarnate" via Blumhouse Productions