There was a time when William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel, “The Exorcist” and William Friedkin’s 1973 movie adaptation might encourage dread simply by mentioning them.
Upon its launch, Friedkin’s movie scared the dickens out of filmgoers on a worldwide scale. It additionally grew to become one of many top-grossing movies of all time.
The “Exorcist’s” affect continues to dwell on. Many movies have tried — and failed — to match the deep-seeded horror of Friedkin’s traditional. Anybody who can recall the movie’s notorious early showings (with studies of lengthy strains and in-theater faintings) would by no means think about Friedkin’s movie would someday encourage a tv spin-off.
Sure, “The Exorcist” is now a Fox TV sequence. Cable could be the more than likely venue for such excessive materials. As a substitute, right here’s a extremely touted broadcast TV remake that premiered the identical week as the opposite movie-turned-TV sequence, “Deadly Weapon.”
On the identical community, no much less.
After viewing “The Exorcist” pilot, the sequence packs extra potential than most new reveals. If it could sustain the tight plotting, wealthy environment and excessive caliber performing, FOX might have formed one of many strongest silver display screen to flat display screen variations in a while.
Geena Davis stars as Angela Rance, a Chicago enterprise lady and mom who struggles to maintain her household blissful. Her husband (properly performed by Alan Ruck) is dropping his psychological capability. One among her two daughters is bedridden with an damage.
That isn’t all.
Voices start coming from her residence’s partitions. Different equally unusual moments power Angela to hunt assist from her native priest, Father Ortega (Alfonso Herrera).
The priest is fighting a scarcity of religion. He’s additionally gripped by visions of an exorcism that happened months in the past in New Mexico. The help of a haunted (in each sense of the phrase) priest (Ben Daniels) and a willpower to rekindle his relationship with God evokes Ortega to assist Angela’s household.
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The pilot was directed by Rupert Wyatt, who helmed “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “The Gambler.” It’s commonplace to see filmmakers dipping their toes in TV work. Nonetheless, it’s a pleasant shock to see a director with Wyatt’s talent giving this an enormous display screen polish.
The cinematography by Alex Disenhof is gorgeous, using crisp monitoring pictures that jogged my memory of the Steadicam work in “The Shining.” Everybody within the solid does excellent work, although it’s the layered flip by Herrera and an intense characterization by Daniels (extra Walter White intense than Max Von Sydow stoic) that drew me in essentially the most.
The sequence exists in the identical world as William Friedkin’s movie: we see Father Marcus doing an Web search that mentions the McNeil’s exorcism and sports activities a photograph of the notorious staircase. I suppose that is smart, respectfully nodding to the occasions of the unique and constructing on the mythology.
Future episodes could make foreseeable point out of Pazazu, The Gemini Killer and different plot threads from the franchise.
‘Exorcist’ Pilot Scares Away Viewers
However, the early scores aren’t promising. “The Exorcist” was roundly crushed in its time slot by the brand new model of “MacGyver.” Solely an “ALF” reboot would have been a extra embarrassing competitor. Hopefully, phrase of mouth and belated curiosity will develop.
Oddly sufficient, the present’s producers are Morgan Creek, the identical firm whose meddling with each “The Exorcist III” and Paul Schrader’s “Dominion- Prequel to The Exorcist” resulted in these movies being launched in compromised variations.
Right here, you possibly can really feel an identical intrusion from both the producers or the style necessities. A CGI assault from a crow, who crashes via an all-too-obviously CGI window, is one such instance.
As with the aforementioned movies, each of that are fairly good however have clearly been tinkered with by their studios, “The Exorcist” pilot has visceral jolts which might be overly acquainted. On no account are they as efficient because the psychological horror and intriguing concepts readily available.
It’s refreshing to see males of religion depicted as advanced, down-to-earth servants whose struggles are comprehensible and heartfelt. There’s additionally the household scenes, because the Rance family is a believable and likable unit.
For very completely different causes (that I wouldn’t dream of spoiling), Hannah Kasulka and Brianne Howey (enjoying Angela’s daughters Casey and Kat Rance, respectively) are exceptionally good. Davis is the large draw, and she or he’s likeable as all the time. Her flip within the 2005-2006 “Commander in Chief” was extra compelling, although.
A number of missteps are forgivable in a pilot episode, which usually go heavy on foreshadowing what lies forward and stacking memorable moments to seize viewing consideration up entrance. What makes “The Exorcist” stand out, in a season filled with reveals that may both fly or die, is how strong and placing the sequence’ imaginative and prescient is.
If this had been a characteristic movie, I’d be mightily impressed. As a TV sequence, I’m hoping the moments of literal horror are dialed down in favor of the far simpler character reveals and creepy solutions of the supernatural menace.
The ultimate moments within the pilot go away the viewer with a cost of anticipation. As soon as Father Ortega learns the reality of what’s plaguing the Rance household (and it’s a plot twist that chilled and stunned me), he leaves the home and walks off in contemplation.
The acquainted “Tubular Bells” theme performs and the sequence successfully nods to its inspiration.
Seeing the once-unthinkable idea of an “Exorcist” TV sequence boggles the thoughts with additional potentialities. Will “Noticed: The Collection” be subsequent?
Within the subsequent 30 years, will there be a “Haddonfield Excessive?” Perhaps one other try at a Freddy Krueger-themed sequence? The record of TV reveals that did not match the movies they primarily based on may be very lengthy. The jury is out on whether or not one other season of “The Exorcist” awaits us or if we’ll nonetheless be speaking in regards to the sequence a 12 months from now.
For now, its preliminary impression left me impressed and hungry for extra.
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