The Exorcist S1E1 “And Let My Cry Come unto Thee”

9 Overall Score
Writing: 9/10
Directing: 9/10
Acting : 9/10

Solid Production|Intense narrative|Great pace|Eeriely Atmospheric

Friday night time slot|Over use of already used theme music

The Exorcist Season One Episode One “And Let My Cry Come unto Thee”
Written by Rupert Wyatt
Directed by Jeremy Slater

Based on the supernatural horror film series of the same name which in turn is based on the novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty

Starring
Alfonso Herrera as Father Tomas Ortega
Ben Daniels as Father Marcus Keane
Geena Davis as Angela Rance
Brianne Howey as Katherine Rance, a former ballet dancer
Hannah Kasulka as Casey Rance
Kurt Egyiawan as Brother Bennett
Alan Ruck as Henry Rance
Giu Carol as Paloma
David Hewlett as the voice of the demon

Father Marcus Keane, one of the Catholic Church’s former exorcists, is a mentally scarred priest living out his days in seclusion after his last session ended with the death of a young boy. In Chicago, young upstart Father Tomas Ortega leads his Chicago congregation with a progressive and modern attitude, attempting to bring the church into the 21st century. Angela Rance, a member of his church, is worried about her family. Her husband seems distant, and more worrisome, her daughter Casey Rance has become reclusive after a surviving a car accident that killed her friends. Casey locks herself in her room for days at a time and behaves strangely. And unexplained sounds emanate from behind her door. Angela, devout in her dogma, suspects demonic activity. Father Ortega is skeptical. But after an eerie experience and a disturbing encounter with Father Keane, the presence of the supernatural cannot be denied.

Sometimes it’s good to go in with low expectations. I had written off The Exorcist as another cash grab by a money hungry network. After all with, horror shows like The Walking Dead and Outcast getting strong ratings and reviews, it’s a hot time for horror on TV. But this was a show based on a beloved series (The Exorcist II: The Heretic notwithstanding) and novel.  And also on the worst possible timeslot for a new show. The dreaded prime-time slot of Friday night; the place where shows go to die (does anyone remember a little show called Firefly?). So I tuned in with trepidation.

I was way wrong. The Exorcist in one of the strongest pilots I have seen in years. Right from the opening credits, featuring a style and font straight out of the 70s, this modern day set show is laying down some solid old-school roots. The opening shot, an homage to the original novel’s most iconic image , showcases the level of art and production value the show has been given. There are multiple international locations, exteriors, and interiors with wide, establishing shots. This is money well spent and shown off. The directing and editing are movie quality, much more cinematic than the usual stuff on you see on TV.

It’s also very intense, atmospheric and violent. The exorcisms scenes rival what we see in the all too unfortunate world of modern PG-13 horror films. This shit is real folks. It pushes the envelope on what we can see on TV. Highlights include a bird smashing to death on a window, amazing and creepy sound effects, and a young boy spitting out teeth and then twisting his own neck until in snaps. Great stuff.

The acting is also strong. The cast is great, with Gene Davis and Ben Daniel’s as standouts. But everyone is good, and is playing their roles seriously and dramatic. Again, it’s all terrifically cinematic.

The pace is also patient, but not prodding. It takes it’s time to establish character and situation, but it delivers the goods on all it’s set ups. That’s the marking of a good pilot. You let the audience now what they are getting into, but leave them wanting more. Tone, narrative, and style are all set up and remain consistent. You can tell it’s strongly planned out.

About the only negative things I can say is that, as intense as it is, I would have liked to see this on at a later time and different day. It’s worrisome this show might not reach the target audience in deserves. Also, and keep in mind I love the original music (it’s iconic, right up there with the theme from Halloween), I do think it’s overused a bit here. But again those are minor quibbles in the grand scheme.

So do yourself a favor, and watch this show. Fox really outdid themselves. Showrunner Jeremy Slater has set up a near-perfect pilot, and something tells me he’s not dropping the ball on this one.

The Exorcist airs on FOX Fridays at 9pm.

 

 

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Author: Manny Gomez View all posts by
Manny Gomez is a freelance writer based out of Florida's west coast. He obsessively reads interviews, binge watches TV shows, loves comics, movies, punk rock, hip-hop, stand-up comedy, detective novels and the mythology of baseball. His best friend is a dog. Follow him on Twitter @Manny1138

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