6.1/10
5,748
46 user 60 critic

The Believers (1987)

A New York psychiatrist finds that a brujería-inspired cult, which believes in child sacrifice, has a keen interest in his own son.

Director:

John Schlesinger

Writers:

Mark Frost (screenplay), Nicholas Conde (novel)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Martin Sheen ... Cal Jamison
Helen Shaver ... Jessica Halliday
Harley Cross ... Chris Jamison
Robert Loggia ... Lt. Sean McTaggert
Elizabeth Wilson ... Kate Maslow
Harris Yulin ... Robert Calder
Lee Richardson ... Dennis Maslow
Richard Masur ... Marty Wertheimer
Carla Pinza Carla Pinza ... Carmen Ruiz
Jimmy Smits ... Tom Lopez
Raúl Dávila Raúl Dávila ... Oscar Sezine
Malick Bowens ... Palo
Janet-Laine Green ... Lisa Jamison
Larry Ramos Larry Ramos ... Diner Counterman
Philip Corey Philip Corey ... Calder's Assistant
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Storyline

After the death of his wife, police psychiatrist Cal Jamison moves to New York. There he has to help in the investigation of the murder of two youths, who seem to have been immolated during a cult ritual. Jamison believes it's been Voodoo and, ignoring the warnings of his housekeeper, enters the scenery and soon gets under their influence. They try to get him to sacrifice his own son. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They exist. Fear them. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 June 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Believers See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,342,732, 14 June 1987

Gross USA:

$18,753,438

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,753,438
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orion Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The address shown on Lt. McTaggert's (Robert Loggia) business card is 220 E. 113th St New York, NY 10001. The phone number is 212-557-7081 See more »

Goofs

When Jessica and Cal are participating in the Santeria ceremony, Jessica is sprayed with chicken blood. The blood initially hits the edge of her shirt near her neck. In a following shot, that part of her shirt is completely clean. See more »

Quotes

Customs agent: [Arriving at the airport] Open this please?
[first lines]
Palo: Just personel items... no need to look in there
[Palo stares deep into the man's eyes]
Customs agent: [Now in a trance like state] All-Right.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Trailer Trauma 3: 80s Horrorthon (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Canto Asovia
Performed by Grupo Folklorico
Courtesy of Mexicana Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A bit disjointed, but overall a good film
17 January 2005 | by BrandtSponsellerSee all my reviews

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.


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