Chapter One: And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee
Chapter Two: Lupus in Fabula
Chapter Three: Let ‘Em In
Chapter Four: The Moveable Feast
Chapter Five: Through My Most Grievous Fault
Chapter Six: Star of the Morning
Chapter Seven: Father of Lies
Chapter Eight: The Griefbearers
Chapter Nine: 162
Chapter Ten: Three Rooms
Making a TV show out of one of the best horror films ever made was always going to be a risky move. What The Exorcist lacks in pure scares compared to its film counterpart, it more than makes up for with almost everything else. The 10 episode series is well paced, full of surprise twists and takes the concept in a new and bold direction that works perfectly for a modern audience. Thanks to a decent script and some great camera work, The Exorcist is one of the best horror shows on TV right now.
The story begins simply enough before blossoming into something more complicated toward the latter period of the show. Angela Rance (Geena Davis) suspects a demon has taken over the house and more specifically, taken possession of her daughter Casey. When she contacts the local priest, Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera), and informs him of this, Tomas enlists the help of Father Marcus (Ben Daniels) a known Exorcist and together they work together to try and exorcise the demon from Casey (Hannah Kasulka). As the series progresses, so too do the complications that arise and by the end of the season, a new plot surfaces that’s left open for a second season to explore further. The story here is arguably better than the story of the original film. Unlike the confined presence of one house and focusing on one set of characters, The Exorcist TV show encapsulates the entire town and frequently changes locales which helps prevent the show from growing stale. Its certainly a bold move to steer away from the original plot line but its one that certainly works well here.
Despite The Exorcist being one of the best horror shows on TV right now, it is lacking a distinct level of outright terror. There’s still some unnerving imagery helped by the camera work which is exemplary throughout but its hard to call The Exorcist scary. There’s just the right level of suspense to keep the scenes at the right length though and the lack of jump scares really helps solidify The Exorcist’s place at the top of the horror mountain. There’s also quite a few nods to the source material; crab walking, green vomit and head spinning all find their way into this series but its subtle enough not to feel forced.
All of this would of course be for nothing if the acting wasn’t on point and thankfully it is. The scripts are well developed and there’s a deep level of characterisation that allows for some interesting sub plots to play out. At first glance it feels like these are implemented as padding, dragging the story out just a little longer than needed, but the way these are exploited by the demon that possesses Casey is cleverly written and really shows a level of thought in the story that’s sadly lacking from many shows nowadays.
If you asked someone to turn The Exorcist into a TV show, you wouldn’t be far removed from what we have here. This is a smartly written, self aware show that prides itself in telling a gripping, cohesive story without unnecessary filler. Its regularly suspenseful, featuring a level of creepiness that’s never ruined by jump scares but instead plays on repulsive imagery and a clever use of christian symbology to tell its story. Whilst the final act does suffer a little from its quickened pace, its a minor gripe in a near perfect 10 episode horror series. If there’s one horror series you get into this October, make it The Exorcist which proves modernising a classic can be done with the right level of care and attention.