Safe As Houses
One For Sorrow
There But for the Grace of God, Go I
A Heaven Of Hell
Ritual & Repetition
After the surprise success of the first season, it was always going to be tough for The Exorcist to maintain that momentum going into the second season. With a new contained story encapsulating the 10 episodes and a continuation of the over-arching plot featuring demons taking control of the Vatican from last year, the second season picks up where it left off and despite a slow start, solidifies its place as one of the finest horror shows out right now.
The story begins several months after the events at the end of the first season. Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) is working as an apprentice exorcist to Marcus (Ben Daniels) and his frustration at not being able to use his gift causes an uneasy rift to grow between the two. Alongside this tense character-driven subplot is a story featuring a family who’s being preyed upon by a powerful, ancient demon. The clever way these two stories stumble into one another along with the parallel plot continuing from last season with the Vatican work perfectly together, with just enough screen time given to the Vatican story to keep its presence relevant. The stand-alone story this year is arguably stronger than it was in the first season and some of this is thanks to the likeable characters who are well written and feature realistic dialogue. There’s hints of mystery running through a few episodes too as the demon’s presence begins to manifest and the growing tension this causes helps to elevate the horror.
Much like last year, there’s a deep understanding in The Exorcist that true horror doesn’t manifest itself in jump scares every 5 minutes. The dread-inducing, methodically paced horror on display here helps the show stand head and shoulders above other horrors with the lack of blood or jump scares some of the reason the show works as well as it does. Its worth mentioning that the acting certainly helps achieve this; the various humans possessed believably depict a demon wrestling for control from its human host to perfection.
In terms of technicality, there isn’t anything inherently special about The Exorcist. For much of the 10 episodes the dimly lit, tense atmosphere manages to maintain an air of uneasiness and fear but the static camera angles and standard lighting for this genre aren’t anything out of the ordinary. Late on there are some psychedelically induced scenes, along with a clever use of editing to distort time, that do a good job of shaking things up from the standardised nature of horror depicted through much of this season.
Thankfully, the second season of The Exorcist manages to maintain the same level of excellence that runs through the first. The absorbing plot lines work harmoniously together and the various subplots that crop up through the 10 episodes never deviate from the horror that remains an ever-growing presence throughout. The climactic ending does understandably lose some of the tension that suffocates this season with its explosive ending but the finale does do a good job of wrapping up the contained story-line in a satisfying and shocking manner. With unresolved plot threads and whispers of a third season on the horizon, it remains to be seen if this horror can sustain such high standards in the future but based on this showing, its certainly an intriguing prospect and one this reviewer is very much looking forward to.