As we enter 2017, I’m reflecting on the vulgar amount of TV I watched last year. I do however have a stand out show from 2016, without any shadow of a doubt it’s The Exorcist. Along with Zombie apocalypses, movies of demons and possessions seem to be appearing more frequently than Nick Fury and Stan Lee combined on the big screen. So that explains why this script was adapted to be shown on TV rather than in the Movie theatre. Being a huge fan of the original book and to a lesser extent the Movies (not the second one, watching that feels like getting Tabasco sauce in your eyes) I was always going to be intrigued.
So now, to the show: We are thrust into a regular suburban family’s life, the fairly ordinary Rance Family. Headed up by Angela (the wonderfully cast Geena Davis) the family consists of Husband Henry (Alan Ruck) and daughters Kat and Casey (Brianne Howey and Hannah Kasulka). This 10 part Series throws you in at the deep end immediately as one of the daughters begins to display signs amounting to demonic possession. The local Church is immediately involved and we are introduced to more integral characters in forms of Father Tomas and Ex-communicated priest Father Marcus (Alfonso Herrera and Ben Daniels).
They are from either ends of the earth and have found themselves thrust together in the most tense of situations to do battle with the ever increasingly powerful demon that is residing within Casey. Over the episodes you will feel like you are in the room with these people, like a fly on the wall. You will hear and feel every bump in the night, every terrifying glare and at times feel like you can even smell the putrid stench from the rotting bodies and souls. The camera work is first class and the show is edited for maximum impact, the strength of scenes involving the exorcisms leaving you cold and are at times reminiscent of the original film – to this day ranking as one of the greatest horrors of all time. Within 2 minutes of starting every single new episode, you immediately feel as if you have just lost hours of your life, such is the intensity. You will follow several strong characters in their own journeys of fear and discovery, corruption and demonology, betrayal, lust and revenge and a quest for infinite power and rule. It’s very difficult to review a series with dropping huge spoilers but it does tie back to the original William Blatter story and not in an annoying Family Guy cut scene kind of way. It is well planned and the story is built fantastically to that point. There are twists and turns in all the characters arcs that will leave you judging whom to trust and what to doubt.
With a city full of hope at the impending arrival of his Holy Father, The Pope has a growing feeling of dread and fear stays with us and delves deeper and deeper into our fear of the unknown, of Heaven and Hell. Of the Devil and his minions whose mission of revenge is millions of years in the making. With the Tag Line of ‘Every Soul is a battlefield’ there can be no doubt that the battle for the daughters soul is only a precursor to a far greater war. One which Father’s Marcus and Tomas can ill afford to lose in the struggle to preserve not only Casey’s eternal soul, but also that of the entire human race. It flows superbly and reaches a fitting crescendo that sets up a possible second series. Though this is by no means needed and I personally will not be disappointed if this becomes a stand-alone series.
So if shows about Satanic Ritual and closely woven story lines built on a belief system held by billions around the world is your thing, I would strongly recommend you find the time to take in the Exorcist, fantastic horror constructed and built on suspense and fear rather than blood and gore. You will not be disappointed.
Review by Michael Prime
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