Title: The Exorcist: “Chapter One: And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee”
Air Date: September 23, 2016
Genre: Horror, Drama
Adapting horror films into TV shows seems to be the new thing now. The Psycho prequel Bates Motel has had great success, while others like The Omen sequel Damien has not. The next show to take a stab at adapting classic horror film is The Exorcist. As far as TV adaptations go, I find the premiere puts The Exorcist at a great start in terms of having tons of potential as the season progresses. I also find the show to be one of the darker of the horror adaptations to hit TV.
The Exorcist doesn’t make clear that the show is a sequel to the 1973 film, but it seems pretty obvious with some minor hints. This time, we focus on Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera), a priest in Chicago, who has been having dreams that have been very life like. These dreams come at a time when one of the family’s of his parish come to him seeking guidance. Angela Rance (Geena Davis) thinks her daughter Catherine (Brianne Howey) is possessed by a demon. In the dreams, Father Tomas sees an exorcism taking place by another priest, Father Marcus (Ben Daniels). Tomas is being pushed to finding Father Marcus for reasons he doesn’t understand.
The episode has a slight build up in certain moments, but at times I went to myself like “really? Is that how you are going to play it?”. For instance, it comes out of nowhere, with no build up, that Angela is concerned that her daughter Catherine is possessed by a demon. In part of Geena Davis’s acting, the scene was one of the weaker points of the episode. I almost laughed when they added a random jump scare “for effect”. Other scenes though I found interesting were the dream sequences. While they are a hint of what is to come, I cannot wait to see more of them.
One thing I fondly remember of The Exorcist movie is that it was scary in both tone and story. The TV show does add a few scares, some of them effective, while others (like the earlier mentioned scene) were not. Tonally The Exorcist is on par with the 1973 film. Which is great. There is this eerily suspense in some scenes, particularly how the episode ended, The scenes involving exorcisms were the strongest, surprisingly enough. Don’t expect a toned down PG-13 kind of content. It surely pushes the boundaries of what is on regular TV. Even compared to what I have seen in other shows during late night/primetime slots.
While the show isn’t a remake and hints as a sequel (we might never know for sure), fans of The Exorcist movie might appreciate the references that were put in. These references to the movie didn’t feel forced and, like I said, they might hint that the show is a sequel. The ending though has a little surprise for the fans. It seems those making the show have taken care to not piss people off that might have been slightly been upset that The Exorcist was being made for TV.
One of the weaker points of the episode was also one of the strongest. Some of the acting felt forced. Maybe it was the dialogue that felt out of place and unnatural. Geena Davis was the weakest of the cast in the premiere, but she is interesting enough that you want to see more of her, to see where she goes in the story. The other members of the Rance family such as Catherine who was played by Howey and Henry Rance (Alan Ruck), despite the little screentime were much more likable than Geena’s Angela. Casey Rance (Hannah Kasulka) at first seemed like an unimportant character but they threw a curveball at the end (no spoilers). Kasulka did great playing the part and might even rival Linda Blair from the original 1973 film.
Herrera and Ben Daniels who played Tomas and Marcus were the strongest of the cast. They had the most screentime and I believe who we will be following for most of the season. If that isn’t the case, I’m curious as to why they focused on them more in the premiere instead of the Rances. Both are likable from the moment we meet them. That doesn’t mean they are relatable.
Overall “Chapter One: And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee” was entertaining. It wasn’t perfect, but that is ok. The Exorcist is trying to find it’s footing in already a crammed pack Friday Night TV schedule. I can say the show could possibly rival Bates Motel if it keeps up the way it is going. I’m just hoping I am not disappointed like I was with Damien. I got hooked early on, just for it to fall apart in the end. Despite that, a part of me is quite excited to see what happens next.
- Some minor scares.
- Likable characters early on.
- Performances by some of the cast.
- The story has the potential to grow.
- References to the '73 film.
- Some performances fell flat.
- The dialogue in some scenes felt off.
- No build-up.
I graduated college with a degree in Digital Journalism and a minor in Political Science. Writing is my passion and I am a nerd to boot. Some of my fandoms include: Doctor Who, Sherlock, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and DC comics.