Logline: A propulsive, serialized psychological thriller following two very different men tackling one family’s case of horrifying demonic possession and confronting the face of true evil.
Cast: Brianne Howey, Geena Davis
Creators: Jeremy Slater (Writer / EP), James Robinson (EP), David Robinson (EP), Barbara Wall (EP), Rupert Wyatt (D)
Studios: 20th Century Fox TV, Morgan Creek Productions
People have been trying to get The Exorcist to television for a while. In 2012, a limited series by Sean Durkin was shopped around. Slater’s take on the franchise appeared in 2013, and landed a pilot order early this year.
Now here’s a reboot that’s likely to elicit curiosity and disdain in equal measure. Why remake arguably one of the greatest horror films of all time? The question answers itself: because it’s one of the greatest horror films of all time.
Like with Riverdale, I had to shed a lot of preconceived notions to get into this. A sufficiently creepy teaser won me over, and eventually, I enjoyed this immensely. it’s closer in tone to Osgood Perkins’ creepy February than it is to The Exorcist. I didn’t really feel like I was reading a remake or reboot. This felt new.
The Exorcist largely succeeds in the character department, understandably turning the series into a two-hander between Father Tomas and Father Marcus, who couldn’t be more different from each other. While Father Marcus feels like a more familiar militant priest, Father Tomas is the real surprise.
He makes an endearing protagonist, and one that I’d gladly watch over successive episodes (Alfonso Herrera’s casting certainly helps). Doesn’t take himself too seriously. Sings along to 80’s pop songs while driving. Isn’t particularly faithful to the Church. Cares about the people around him.
And now the big question: is it scary? The pilot gives us slow-burning horror, powered by paranoia and distrust. It’s the kind of slow pacing that pays off at the end. There were moments when I was horrified, but I expect The Exorcist is holding its biggest surprises for later episodes.
In spite of its strengths, this is another pilot that’s execution-dependent (horror pilots usually are), and I’m not sure it has legs. And in a season crowded with event series, Fox might not want to add yet another to its fold.