The Believers

1987

Action / Crime / Drama / Horror / Mystery / Thriller

35
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 33%
IMDb Rating 6.1 10 5

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 30, -0001 at 12:00 AM

Cast

Martin Sheen as Cal Jamison
Jimmy Smits as Tom Lopez
Robert Loggia as Lt. Sean McTaggert
Richard Masur as Marty Wertheimer
1080p.BLU
1.84 GB
1920*800
English
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 54 min
P/S 1/4

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by BrandtSponseller 8 / 10

A bit disjointed, but overall a good film

After his wife dies, police psychiatrist Cal Jamison (Martin Sheen) moves with his son, Chris (Harley Cross), from Minnesota to New York City. There, he quickly becomes embroiled in a bizarre string of occult-related murders of children and apparent suicides of adults.

If you enjoyed The Serpent And The Rainbow (1988), Angel Heart (1987) and Rosemary's Baby (1968), there's a good chance you'll enjoy The Believers as well, as it bears quite a few similarities (although it's certainly not a rip-off). In my view, it's not quite as good as those other three films, which are all 10s in my book, but it is well worth watching.

The principle flaw, which probably arises from trying to condense a novel--in this case Nicholas Conde's book, The Religion--into a screenplay, is that The Believers quickly brushes over some developments so that it's occasionally difficult to follow, especially towards the beginning. We can sense that there's much more to the story but that there just isn't time to show all of it to us.

However, a characteristic of the subgenre of occult/voodoo horror films is a prominent surrealism and dream-like narrative flow, so what might be more of a flaw in another kind of film can be more of an asset here. The Believers also benefits from a great cast--Sheen is a delight to watch (and listen to) as a psychiatrist who can fly off the handle in rage at the drop of a hat, and Jimmy Smits is wonderfully insane every time we see him.

The Believers is also worth checking out for its cinematography and set design. The set for the climax is a visual treat and integral to the plot. And the tag scene after the climax is remarkable for its visual change--beautiful, wide-open spaces and bright colors. It's just too bad that the sequel set up by director John Schlesinger never came to fruition.

Reviewed by docdespicable 7 / 10

Building Belief

Back when this hit theaters, I missed it for some reason - I think the ad campaign left me rather nonplussed. In any case, I gave it a miss, only to take the chance on it some years later on video. And I have to say I was impressed! This is NOT a movie for the impatient viewer. Opening with family tragedy, it then takes necessary time to introduce its characters, really introduce them and give the audience time to get to know them and care about them. During the "character study" portion, there are only rare implications that something sinister is in the offing.

Other reviews have stated that the movie is slow, that it drags, that it's padded out with perhaps unnecessary exposition, but I must disagree - to believe THE BELIEVERS, one must "believe" a bit oneself. A film that drops the viewer into a breakneck chase from the outset has its place and its advantages in storytelling, but almost invariably such movies are about the chase, rather than the people. THE BELIEVERS is about the people, which separates it from the typical batch of "supernatural thrillers". Here we get the whole story, rather than a sort of synopsis, wherein we get only the "high points", those scenes which contain the most action or gore or both. TOTAL RECALL is an excellent example of this type of film, done well; one need only look at any of the horror/slasher franchise films to have an idea of this type of film done at a dead run, for money and the most shock value. They can be fun, but I'm not sure they qualify as art.

What makes THE BELIEVERS so disturbing is that, at its best, it *builds belief* in the audience. This might seem redundant, since, going in, we demonstrate a willingness to believe that is initially missing from the main charter(s); but in this case, we no longer have the emotional distance to simply watch and say, "Oh, I saw that coming," or "Blah - never in a million years." By the time Helen Shaver goes through her ordeal with that unsightly blemish, nothing about it seems far-fetched at all! Performances are, generally, successful. Young Harley Cross is excellent as young Chris, and the rest of the cast is populated with familiar faces or faces that were destined to become very familiar indeed, such as Jimmy Smits. My sole complaint comes from certain scenes with Martin Sheen - emotionally, he goes from conversation to screaming in an instant, and it just doesn't seem appropriate to the scene, especially when one considers that he's playing a psychiatrist - a professional group who are specifically trained in keeping their cool in the heat of a situation. Some of the dialog, too, occasionally comes out sounding like they shot the rehearsal.

THE BELIEVERS is not without flaw - nevertheless, enough good remains that it rewards the patient viewer with a rich storytelling experience!

Reviewed by spacemonkey_fg 10 / 10

Realistic and truly scary.

Title: The Believers (1987)

Director: John Schlesinger

Cast: Martin Sheen, Jimmy Smitts, Robert Loggia

Review: I've always been intrigued by movies about Voodo, Santeria and Witchcraft. I could go on and on about how part of my early childhood was spent in that religion and what not. But I'm not going to. Its something I like to leave safely tucked away in my past. Anyhows, this film, The Believers, depicts a couple of Santeria/Voodoo rituals that felt very, very genuine. I always keep a keen eye open to see just how truthful films can get...to see if the filmmakers did their homework right or not. Well, in the case of The Believers Id say they did their homework alright and got a straight freaking A man.

The Believers is about a police psychologist called Cal Jamison (Martin Sheen). He is trying to cope with his wives recent death and trying to continue on with a normal life. When he suddenly realizes that his son has been targeted by practitioners of "Brujeria" or witchcraft. They need his son to perform one of their rituals. Of course he opposes and goes on a terrifying journey to try and stop them.

What I found chilling about this film is its faithfulness to the whole Santeria thing. Having a background in this I could tell what was real and what was Hollywood Hocus Pocus bullshit, and let me tell you 90% of this film was highly accurate as to some of the rituals.

Heres the thing about this type of movie. It can very easily turn into an unrealistic film that simply exploits the religion and uses its mythology to scare people who know nothing about it. But in the case of The Believers, they made a very good effort to demonstrate that Santeria is just another religion. Its people who believe in different things that the rest of the world don't believe in. And it doesn't have to be evil simply because its different.

Of course, like everything, there's a dark side to the whole thing and in this movie its called "Brujeria" or Witchcraft. As it is explained in the film, its a form of Voodoo that is used for evil purposes and that its rituals involve amongst other things the sacrifice of children. The people in the film at first think that the ones committing the murders are people who belong to Santeria...when in fact they don't. So I liked the fact that the movie didn't stoop to the low point of exploiting the beliefs of people who practice Santeria.

The movie is frightening, because it feels real. These religions and the people who believe in them are out there. They exist. And the ignorance about their beliefs instantly translates to fear amongst people who know nothing about it. Of course the movie does take advantage of peoples ignorance about it and uses it to make people think one thing...when in fact its another. But I have say, the movie will prove to be quite frightening. It has some genuinely tense moments in there.

Jimmy Smitts, an unknown at the time, steals the show as Tom Lopez. A local who is frightened that "they" will get him. "They" know who he is and "You don't know what they can do!" Those sequences with Smitts going loco are excellent and will heighten any bit of fear that was already crawling up through the back of your spine. Also there's an evil Priest character played by Malik Bowens that is 100% concentrated evil. A memorable scene involves his eyes changing color and starting to dance as he is possessed by a spirit. So you can rest assured that we get some good solid performances in this flick.

In conclusion I'll say that this movie is scary in the same way that The Exorcist was scary. In the same way that Angel Heart and Serpent and the Rainbow were scary. Its all tied up to something that exists in real life. Of course the film, as is the case in almost all of these films dealing with Voodoo or Santeria, ventures into fantasy territory. But Ill say this, The Believers is the one that feels the most genuine out of all the movies dealing with this subject matter. So its worth a look see. Only if you want to be really scared of course.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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