Ann Dowd, who plays the ruthless Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale, has joined the cast of director David Gordon Green’s reboot of the 1973 horror classic The Exorcist.

With the exception of a short-lived TV series in 2016, director William Friedkin’s masterpiece The Exorcist has long escaped the remake/reboot trend, with good reason – it’s one of the greatest horror films of all time, and any attempt to recapture the original’s horrific atmosphere and shocking imagery would be folly.

But never say never. David Gordon Green, who relaunched the Halloween franchise in 2018, is game enough to try, although he has insisted the new film will be a direct continuation of the original and the first in a proposed new Exorcist trilogy.

Ann Dowd’s casting is certainly good news, although whether her flair for sinister characters like The Handmaid’s Tale’s Aunt Lydia, The Leftovers‘ Patti Levin, or Hereditary‘s Joan will be put to good use in the film remains to be seen. Equally promising is that original Exorcist mum Ellen Burstyn is reprising her role as Chris MacNeil in the reboot, although there’s no word as yet on whether Linda Blair will also be returning.

The Exorcist will be co-produced by horror specialist Blumhouse Productions and is currently scheduled for release in October 2023.

Ellen Burstyn in The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist at JB Hi-Fi