Outcast (2016): E01 “A Darkness Surrounds Him”

“A young man searches for answers as to why he’s been suffering from supernatural possessions his entire life.”

This Episode: “Mother was possessed by an evil spirit, he goes to help a priest who performs an exorcism on a young boy.”

Outcast-Comic-Con-PosterOutcast was a show I hadn’t heard a whole lot about until recently, so it wasn’t really on my radar or something I was looking forward to. Hell, even the fact that it was from the creators of The Walking Dead gave me pause, as my enjoyment of that particular series has dried up significantly. Since watching this episode, I have done a bit of looking and found that the show is based on a comic book by Dead’s Robert Kirman and artist Paul Azaceta, which I completely intend to have a look at in the near future.

Preamble aside, let’s talk about the show. My expectations weren’t especially high, as the quality of horror television has been well beyond lackluster for much longer than I would like, and it seems to only get worse with each new “horror” show that comes out.  That said, this one comes from the same network that gave us the salacious and batshit crazy series Banshee, so I had at least some hope for this one.

This being the pilot, we are of course introduced to our cast of characters. The series centers around Kyle Barnes, played by Patrick Fugit (Gone Girl, Wrist Cutters: A love story) as the tortured hero. He has flashbacks to the very disturbing experiences he had at the hands of his, it’s implied, possessed mother. His dealings with the supernatural seem to have completely destroyed his life, and his relationship, as evil follows him around. The character is interesting, and Fugit is a strong actor to be sure. Alongside him are Wrenn Schmidt (Our Idiot Brother), David Denman (The Office), and Reg E. Cathey (House of Cards).

Rounding out the cast is Philip Glenister (The Hollow Crown) who plays the town’s preacher, and the only one who seems really aware of Kyle’s encounters with evil. His performance is great, and the two of them are going to make for a pretty interesting team in the episodes to come. There is also the noteworthy performance of Gabriel Bateman (Annabelle) who delivers a very physical and frightening performance as a young boy fighting against a demon.

outcast-patrick-fugit-image

This episode seems to be chock full of blood and scares, and it does occasionally border on the cheesy, as is the way of Cinemax. A particularly insane scene comes near the end of the episode, so spoiler alert I suppose, but it involves a grown man (Fugit) punching a small, evil child in the face; repeatedly, and brutally. The show has a great look about it, and it’s pretty quickly cemented itself as one to be excited about. This episode is intense, builds the world really effectively and sets the season in motion in a really strong way. I did find it a little bit jarring when Roy from The Office strolled in dressed as a police officer, but he fills the role pretty well, and there aren’t really any performances or set pieces that didn’t work.

Of course, it’s the first episode and the rest does remain to be seen, but for now I would give it a strong recommend, and it’s likely that there will be regular reviews as I see different episodes.

FINAL RATING: ****

 

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