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The Exorcist (2016)
So I watched the first episode...
UPDATE: I've watched three episodes now and my reaction is exactly the same as it was after watching the premiere, great show.
Also, for people worried about IMDb listing only 6 episodes in the show, worry not! Hannah Kasulka (the excellent actress who plays Casey Rance in the show) has told me that they are filming ten episodes for the first season! :D
Original review follows:
OK, so let me start off by saying I'm a huge The Exorcist (1973) fan, and think that it is the best horror movie ever made. Similarly, I also liked The Conjuring 1 and 2, Insidious 1 and 2, The Ring, The Babadook, and The Thing (1982). Talking about TV shows that are usually categorized as horror, I also enjoy The Walking Dead. American Horror Story is meh-ish but Season 1-2 were pretty good. Lastly, Supernatural isn't exactly horror nowadays, but I still enjoy watching it.
I think it's important that you know about my taste in horror, so you can judge and weigh my review. I started watching this episode with a skeptical mind, knowing how this reboot of a TV series of my favorite horror movie could go horribly wrong, likely many other remakes and reboots out there.
So, the episode started off as you might have expected, hints of horror and tension, but nothing really to make you jump out of your seat. However, after around 10-15 minutes, it started to become really interesting. There were scenes of genuine suspense, and no, I'm not talking about strange noises (which are pretty standard in all horror movies), but actually a few attempts at exorcism.
This is where the show really started to shine for me, the special effects used were decent, though I would appreciate a little less close-ups to the face and shaking cameras in future episodes. But generally, it was overall pretty good and reminded me a lot of the movie and the book (yes, I've read it) it's based on. I also liked the references sneaked in (especially the one in the article, and right at the end).
Acting was spot-on. I have seen Ben Daniels in House of Cards, and Geena Davis in Stuart Little, but the rest of the cast were generally unknown to me. That said, all of them really surprised me with excellent acting, especially Alfonso Herrera, Hannah Kasulka, and Brianne Howie. These characters actually felt relate-able and not the usual nincompoops we see in horror movies. I liked how the characters immediately consulted specialists instead of dragging the thing out for two or three episodes.
As this is a spoiler-free review, I'm not going to go into the details, but if I had to rate the following out of 10, this is how I would do it:
Story: 9 ||||| Cast / Acting: 9.5 ||||| Dialog: 8.5 ||||| Horror: 8.5 ||||| Direction / Effects etc: 8.5 ||||| Originality: 9.5
The only thing I found slightly lacking was the amount of horror in it. Sure, there were legit scenes of terror, but I'd really like to see the show go beyond and scare the hell out of me like The Exorcist did. (I couldn't sleep the entire night after I watched that movie almost four years ago, when I was 16).
All in all, if you're bored of the current "horror" shows which are kind of failing at horror *cough* AHS *cough* Supernatural *cough*, this is looking like the show to go to. That said, this is just my reaction after watching one episode, and I could be wrong. However, the preview for the next episode looked really awesome and I really think that this show is going to be great, must watch! ;)
P.S: Also, watch out for that twist at the end of the episode, pretty great! ;)
One of the best episodes
Let me start off by saying that up until now Season 2 hadn't been as impressive as Season 1, the story was not progressing as such and there were a couple of episodes which were completely dedicated to things that had happened in the past. While, the background stories were interesting, I believe they did not warrant full episodes and could have just as easily been integrated into other episodes (similar to what happens in Arrow). But this episode seriously changed my overall view about season 2. Simply put, I think that this is the best episode in this entire season, major plot lines coincide, shocking truths and true intentions of several characters are revealed, there are a few tragedies (no spoilers!), even more complexities are revealed, characters are explored even further and there's A LOT more suspense in this episode compared to the rest of the season. Furthermore, I also liked the pace of this episode, it started off with a bang and managed to keep me on the edge of my seat throughout. There were no unnecessary flashbacks, the past was discussed in words only (as it ideally should be, IMO) and tension ran high. Without further ado, I would like to say that this is overall the best episode of this season and could easily be ranked among the best episodes in this show. Season 2 has been slightly on the slower side overall but this episode has made it all interesting again and I hope the finale lives up to its potential (and so does Season 3!) :)