The Believers (1987)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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We know that the makers of The Believers aren't kidding when, in the very first scene, 7-year-old Harley Cross witnesses the electrocution of his own mother. Cross' dad, psychologist Martin Sheen, moves himself and the boy to New York, in hopes of forgetting the tragedy. What he doesn't know is that his son has been targetted by the Religion of Santeria, a voodoo cult specializing in child sacrifices-and that the death of his wife was part of the Santerian's extremely complex blood ritual. Based on a novel by Nicholas Conde, The Believers is an effectively manipulative thriller, capable of inducing goose pimples on even the most jaded of horror fans. However, director John Schlesinger spends so much time pumping credibility into the plot convolutions (not to mention staging the stomach-churning "shock" setpieces) that he tends to allow the actors to behave like stick figures.
R (adult situations/language, violence)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Concorde/New Horizons Home Video

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Martin Sheen
as Dr. Cal Jamison
Helen Shaver
as Jessica Halliday
Robert Loggia
as Lt. Sean McTaggert
Harley Cross
as Chris Jamison
Elizabeth Wilson
as Kate Maslow
Harris Yulin
as Donald Calder
Lee Richardson
as Dennis Maslow
Richard Masur
as Marty Wertheimer
Carla Pinza
as Mrs. Ruiz
Jimmy Smits
as Tom Lopez
Juan Manuel Aguero
as News Vendor
Raúl Dávila
as Sezine
John Bendel
as Theater Detective
Larry Ramos
as Diner Counterman
Philip Corey
as Calder's Assistant
Jennifer Lee-Pryor
as Calder's Assistant
Philip Carey
as Calder's Assistant
Harvey Chao
as Chinese Couple
Joan Kaye
as Woman In Park
Eddie Jones
as Police Patient
Bob Clout
as Cigar Couple
Joe Pentangelo
as Theater Cop
Joseph Wilkens
as Theater Cop
Robert Clohessy
as Diner Detective
Dick Martinsen
as Diner Cop
Robert Connelly
as Precinct Detective
Tony De Santis
as Precinct Detective
Raymond Graham
as Lead Drummer
Frank Rivers
as Park Cop
Ana Maria Quintana
as A.C.H.E. Secretary
Nonnie Griffin
as Cigar Couple
Ray Paisley
as Customs Agent
Dick Callahan
as Bartender
Christopher Brown
as Carpenter
Gary Farmer
as Mover
Jennifer Lee
as Calder's Assistant
Maria Magdaleno
as Woman At Newstand
Shirley Anthony
as Marty's Secretary
Elizabeth Hanna
as Doctor At Hospital
Micki Moore
as Believer
Christine Pak
as Chinese Couple
Fernando Queija
as Believer
Maria Lebb
as Believer
Khali Keyi
as African Shaman
Leroy Radcliffe
as Chief Dancer
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Critic Reviews for The Believers

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (1)

It was an especially smart move to cast Daniel Benzali as the cult's leader, The Teacher.

Full Review… | October 16, 2007

An intense, gripping and serious horror film. Has aged quite well since its theatrical release.

January 26, 2006
Fantastica Daily

Not as creepy as the book, but hey, it'll do in a pinch.

November 25, 2002

John Schlesinger and the horror film should never have met

July 30, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

a few shocks amid a lot of voodoo hoodoo

July 29, 2002
Kalamazoo Gazette

Dry and obvious cult thriller that starts out ugly and then just gets more and more confused.

July 26, 2002

Audience Reviews for The Believers


This page is a bit confused as to what movie it's referring to... the one I saw was a John Schlesinger horror pic from the 80's starring Martin Sheen... and had nothing to do w/ the Monkees!

Nikkolaus Ryan
Nikkolaus Ryan

What starts out like a family drama soon enters serial thriller territory and finally ends up being a supernatural horror film. The greatest trick this film pulls is that those aspects flow into each other really well and make for a very entertaining, sometimes disturbing and ultimately exciting film. That's also thanks to the acting, particularly Sheen makes for a convincing police psychologist and father, whose son is threatened by an voodoo cult. Even though the film is clearly a child of its time (the 80s), the shocks and twists still work and the wonderfully unpleasant final punchline stays with you for quite a while. Very good!

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

This movie about voodoo worship amongst Manhattan elites may look good, but it just not as tense or scary as the film thinks it is.

Gordon Briggs
Gordon Briggs

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