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The Believers (1987)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Horror  |  10 June 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 4,188 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 37 critic

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



(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Harley Cross ...
Kate Maslow
Lee Richardson ...
Carla Pinza ...
Raúl Dávila ...
Larry Ramos ...
Diner Counterman
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Calder's Assistant


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They exist. Fear them. See more »


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 June 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los creyentes  »

Box Office


$18,753,438 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One studio executive suggested having the Beastie Boys perform on the soundtrack. See more »


When Cal is at the hardware store trying to find the author to the Santeria book, the guy that refuses to talk to him turns off the lights and immediately disappears, despite the fact that there is still enough light that you should have seen him there or at least walking out of frame. See more »


Dennis Maslow: And another child was saved... a most extraordinary child... who's taught us so much. Other the years he's become like a son to us.
See more »


References Rosemary's Baby (1968) See more »


Flute Concerto In G
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Aurele Nicolet and the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam
Courtesy of Philips Records, a divsion of Polygram Classics
See more »

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User Reviews

A bit disjointed, but overall a good film
17 January 2005 | by (New York City) – See 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.

23 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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