This past Friday, FOX aired the pilot of their original show called “The Exorcist.” Certainly the title seems overused and repetitive, considering the endless number of movies and books that share it. However, taking these and using them to inspire a weekly show is undoubtedly a new idea, making this an interesting watch for horror fans of a range of ages.
The episode begins at night, cutting to a scene with a dark unknown man who walks around for a bit and then proceeds to rinse his face with water. Eventually, mysterious noises paired with the shrill barking of a dog distracts him and he begins to survey his environment. Later, it is revealed that this man is actually Father Marcus, a Catholic priest who used to preform exorcisms. The opening scene, which at first seems random, actually makes a lot of sense. It infers to the viewer that these exorcisms have likely led to Father Marcus feeling unclean and evil. It is clear he is haunted by these experiences.
The show starts off on a relatively innocent note but grows increasingly darker until the extremely sudden climax at the end. A priest named Father Tomas Ortega runs a church in Chicago. One of his parishioners, Angela Rance, comes to him concerned that there is a presence in her home and pretty much accuses her daughter, Katherine, of being possessed, saying that she’s been acting different. Father Tomas does not believe her at first, but ends up visiting her house in an attempt to ease her mind. It is revealed that the Rance family has its share of issues, as Katherine refuses to leave her room and the father is quickly losing his memory among other mental capabilities.
When Father Tomas begins having horrifying dreams of Father Marcus’ exorcisms, he grows curious and sets out to find him. He discovers that he knows things about these events that he couldn’t have known unless he had been there. Father Marcus is terrified and becomes convinced that it is not God sending him these dreams, but the devil.
The episode concludes with a scene of Father Tomas in the attic of the Rance home. The demon is shown, but it isn’t Katherine who is possessed.
The show, unlike a lot of horror, takes time building up its characters before bringing out the scares. Much of the pilot consists of introducing the plot and character details and much less when it came to jump-scares. This creates success in being much different than the exorcism movies, but it fails to frighten the audience. A couple of the “horror” scenes seemed out of context and overdone, such as the crow flying into the window and getting stuck inside the glass for what seemed like minutes out of nowhere.
Additionally, the end seems very rushed considering there has been almost no lead up or evidence to the Rance home actually being haunted prior to the scene with the possessed girl killing and eating rats in the attic. It seemed as if the plot was overly detailed up until the end, and then the last few scenes were rushed in an attempt to live up to the promise of horror.
The pilot isn’t “fan-girl” worthy, but there is definitely potential on the way. If you like this genre of movies and books, you might just want to give a few episodes of this show a try.
Cynthia Reinert is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org