TV show based on William Blatty’s 1971 novel about a priest who performs exorcisms on demonic spirits.
“Chapter One: And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee”
Something is wrong in the Rance household. Angela Rance suspects demonic possession and enlists the help of two priests: the progressive, but naïve, Father Tomas Ortega and the broken holy warrior, Father Marcus Keane.
This was definitely one of those shows that got my spidey senses tingling. There is really no reason to make a show based on The Exorcist (one of my favourite movies of all time), and it was easy for me to become immediately doubtful that the show would provide anything of substance. So, when the show finally came out, I very nearly didn’t watch it. The last show-based-on-a-movie that I watched was Scream, and that was just… terrible.
Obviously, however, my curiousity got the better of me and so I checked out the first “chapter” of The Exorcist television series. So after all that suspicion and preamble, and recognizing that this is just the first episode and there is plenty of room for things to go wrong, I’m happy to say that I was actually pleasantly surprised by what I saw.
The biggest relief came from the realization that this wasn’t a remake of The Exorcist, but rather something of a sequel. Existing in the same universe as the events of the 1973 classic, but with a new set of characters. With that said, the setup in this episode is quite similar, you have the rugged old priest who spent some time overseas and saw some terrible things, and you have the young priest trying to help a family who believes they are being haunted by a demon.
The series also has the benefit of a very watchable cast. Alfsonso Herrera (Sense8) and Ben Daniels (House of Cards) play the priests, one a progressive and naive young priest, and the other is the rugged exorcism expert, in similar fashion to the film, but Daniels is significantly younger than Max Von Sydow’s character. You also have Geena Davis (The Fly), and Alan Ruck (Ferris Beuller’s Day Off), who are very watchable; particularly Alan Ruck, as the father of the possessed girls who also appears to have suffered a catastrophic brain injury, leaving him mostly unaware of his surroundings, but still able to function.
You also have Brianne Howey and Hannah Kasulka as sisters, and children of Ruck and Davis, one of whom is likely possessed by the devil, but it’s worth not spoiling which one, because it comes as a pretty good reveal later in the episode.
The show overall isn’t without it’s problems, the story seems a bit disorganized, but it does come together nicely and sets the series up effectively. There are also two scenes that basically cemented my intention to watch the series beyond this episode, one featuring a little boy who shows the real outcome of a head turning all the way around, and the other is an attic scene that genuinely creeped me out.
All in all, if you’re looking for a fun new horror show to watch for October, you could do a whole lot worse. It’s likely that I’ll stick with it and review it again once the series ends to see how my feelings have changed (or not). So, if you haven’t yet, check out The Exorcist.
MY RATING: ****
Also, please let me know what you thought!