Through the generosity of FOX and Grim Philly Twilight Tours, I was lucky to attend a screening of the new television show The Exorcist. I admit I was skeptical on how a movie many regard as the scariest of all time could be turned into a television show. Should you be compelled to watch the series, or is this something we’ve seen before?
Scary shows are popular right now. With FX’s American Horror Story and AMC’s The Walking Dead enjoying success, FOX enters the arena with The Exorcist.
While the pilot episode titled And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee, may have referenced some of the original movie, this is neither a remake nor a sequel. This is a modern take on an old tale. It takes place in a different location, over 40 years after the movie was released.
The Rance Family is at the heart of the story. Matriarch Angela (Geena Davis) has her hands full dealing with her husband Henry (Alan Ruck), who appears to have memory problems. If that weren’t enough, she has two daughters to raise. Older daughter Katherine (Brianne Howley) is a moody mess, preferring the solitude of her room to interacting with her family. Younger daughter Casey (Hannah Kasulka) tries her best to shake her sister from the funk she is in, and chastises her for being nasty toward their mother.
The Rance Family is turned upside down by unexplained phenomena, interrupting their pursuit of an idyllic home life. At her wit’s end with her kid and her house, Angela seeks the counsel of her priest, Father Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera). She tells him that she hears voices in the walls, and that college-age Katherine isn’t acting like herself since she’s been home from school. Angela’s not sure what the cause is, but she is positive her daughter isn’t suffering from depression. Angela insists that a demon has invaded her home, believing it responsible for the disturbances they have been experiencing and her daughter’s uncharacteristic behavior.
After his strange meeting with Angela, the young priest solicits the advice of a more experienced counterpart, Father Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels), on the subject of demonic possession. Will they join forces to help the Rance Family return to normal, or is Tomas on his own? It would be an odd, yet interesting pairing as the men appear to be opposites, at least on the surface.
Creating a television show based on a beloved movie, especially one thought of as a classic like The Exorcist, is a brave undertaking. Creator Jeremy Slater is up for the challenge. I enjoyed the first episode, it was sufficiently creepy and the characters were likable enough to care about what happens to them. I’m interested to see how they further develop. What happened to Henry to cause his impairment? What is really behind Kat’s unusual behavior? Is there something evil in the home, as Angela fervently believes?
It’s nearly fall, and almost time for Halloween and spooky stuff. I’m looking forward to a new The Exorcist on the small screen. Shows like this are an escape. You may have had a bad day, but it’s a safe bet you’re not dealing with demonic possession. That makes your bad day seem not so terrible. Give it a fair chance, it boasts a great cast. Special effects have made great improvements since 1973; there’s no pea soup to be found, at least not yet anyway. Get some snacks, turn off the lights, and hunker down for some supernatural good fun, if you dare. The Exorcist premieres on FOX on Friday, September 23, at 9 EST.