45 min., 2016
Written by Jeremy Slater
Directed by Rupert Wyatt
My rating: ★★★★
An interesting beginning.
* * *
Before beginning this review I just want to state three things.
First – I’m not a huge fan of the franchise of The Exorcist, with the first movie being the best and the rest pretty much belonging in the shitter, so I’m very worried about what they are going to do with this series.
Second – I’m not a big fan of TV in general. One thing that I hate about TV, especially American television, is that shows (the people running them) never know when to stop. There are dozens of shows that were great, but then they went on for an extra season or two (or five or twelve) and just ruined everything they worked to build. They are more concerned about milking a series for all it’s worth and the stories and characters that made the show great are left behind.
Third – I’ve read nothing about this series. That means, I’ve haven’t heard if it’s good or bad, and I don’t know where and what the plot involves. I’m going in completely blind. That being stated…here we go.
Who Do We Meet:
Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera): He is an up and coming priest in Chicago who isn’t afraid to get close to and have fun with his congregation, including the Rance family. He has a sister, Olivia, and a nephew, Luis. He is writing letters to a married woman named Jessica, who he seems to have had a relationship with before. He’s a strong believer in God, but knows that the church uses stories as metaphors instead of facts. If he has a point to make he’ll let you know. Lastly, he’s been having some strange dreams that involve the exorcism of a little boy named Gabriel and a priest named Father Marcus.
Father Marcus (Ben Daniels): A very tough and tormented priest who was involved in a really harsh exorcism, with a boy named Gabriel, that didn’t end well. He’s very jaded and to the point when it comes to God. When doing an exorcism he will give it his all and not give up, to the point of defying “orders” from Rome. He isn’t afraid to use guns to defend what he’s doing.
Angela Rance (Geena Davis): Wife of Henry and mother to Katherine and Casey. It seems she is dealing with a lot. Her husband isn’t doing so good and her daughter, Katherine, has been acting strangely. Angela’s been hearing voices and sounds coming from the walls and she believes that their home is being invaded by a presence. She also believes that Katherine is possessed by a demon. She realizes that it sounds strange, but she knows that Katherine is possessed.
Henry Rance (Alan Ruck): Not much is known about him at this point. Something happened to him that has caused him to become a “potato”. I’m guessing early Alzheimer’s. He has a boat.
Katherine Rance (Brianne Howey): The oldest of the two daughters. Has been acting really distant ever since she got into a car accident at college and her friend died. She’s been spending a lot of time in her room with the lights out. She has a very negative outlook on the church and she doesn’t think very highly of her mother. She seems to be the most outwardly affected by what’s happening to her father.
Casey Rance (Hannah Kasulka): She plays sports and seems to be very happy. She takes what comes in stride and tries to keep the peace, but she also seems to enjoy some of the conflict (mainly by her reaction at the dinner table). Oh, and she’s the one that’s possessed.
Father Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan): Old “friends” with Father Marcus, who worked together on (at least) one exorcism. Follows the word of Rome and the church without hesitation.
and most importantly
Helena (Ana Maria Alvarez): She comes into the church very distraught and needs to have her sins absolved because her white cat is sick. This is the most important scene in this whole episode. Trust me, it’ll be pivotal in the big picture of the series.
Places Of Interest:
The Home Of Gabriel: The place where Father Marcus tried, and failed, at an exorcism.
St. Anthony’s Church: The church run by Father Tomas. It seems that the congregation is pretty small, but very friendly. It’s under restoration, but it doesn’t seem to be going so great.
The Rance Family Home: A very nice (and large) home that is in Chicago. The place where, I have a feeling, most of the show will take place.
Father Tomas’s Apartment: A small and very normal apartment.
St. Aquinas Retreat Center: The place where Father Marcus is now staying. His room is filled with drawings of dark images.
The story so far…
So I don’t repeat myself too much, I’ll make it simple. Father Tomas is being led to Father Marcus, through dreams of a past exorcism. Angela thinks that her daughter (the wrong one) is possessed by a demon, and after an up close and personal encounter, Father Tomas is starting to believe as well.
Something new that I’m going to be doing is, the threes. Instead of just a normal review, that after a few episodes pretty much gets kinda boring, I’m going to be stating 3 things I really liked about the episode, 3 things I though were just okay, and 3 things that were terrible. Now if something isn’t listed here, it doesn’t mean I hated it. These are just the ones that really stuck out to me.
The Three Good Things:
Use Of Color: I really like the use of colors in this episode. One scene that I thought was really great was the one shot where Father Tomas is in the basement and he’s being lit by his cellphone. It looks really cool.
Possessed Gabriel Effects: I think the effects used to transform Gabriel into his possessed form are great. The marks on the face, the messed up teeth and the introduction of the split (or double) iris is really nice.
The Screaming: When Father Marcus is in the ally at the beginning and he starts to hear the screams coming from the window. It’s pretty chilling the scream they used. The best way to describe the scream is that it’s a mixture of a person in extreme pain and fear, but also something evil trying to escape.
The Three Okay Things:
Geena Davis’ Acting: Incredibly uneven. There are parts where I really believe what she’s saying, but there are other times where I just can’t take her seriously. Also, it sounds like she is talking with a stuffed up nose.
The Evil Church: I know it’s a very common thing (especially nowadays) to show the church as this big bad entity that will kill anyone that crosses its path, but to me it’s just getting boring. I’m curious where they may take it, but being “put out to pasture” if you don’t follow orders, I don’t know about that.
Casey Being Possessed: Unlike the possessed Gabriel, these effects are just too dull. I’ve seen them a dozen times before (and will probably see them a dozen more) and they don’t do anything for me. Yes I know that this is the “beginning” stages, but they are just too bland for me. On the other hand I did like the way she was like a puppet when she walked, that was very nice.
The Three Terrible Things:
CG Crow: That Fucking CG Crow!
Continuity Editing: I’m having some real problems with the continuity editing. Maybe it’s just me noticing stupid little things but, there are times where they can’t even keep the position of a character’s collar the same for a scene. It may seem minor to others, but it seems really lazy to me.
Genna Davis Again: What the hell is up with the sexual tension going every time Genna Davis is talking to, or looking at, Alfonso Herrera. I mean she is practically drooling in every scene. Does this turn into something or is it just me?
For a first episode it’s not bad at all. Actually, I’d say it’s really great. I’m curious where it’s going and what they are going to be doing with everything. The set up is nice and we’ve gotten to know just enough about each character that you do want to know some more. I hate shows that cram all the info about the characters down your throat in the first episode. It leaves no room for character growth.
I (very) cautiously say that I’m excited for what the rest of the series holds for me. There is room for improvement, but that’s every show and the problems I have so far are pretty minor.
But it was a really nice feel when Tubular Bells kicked in as Father Marcus is packing up his stuff.
P.S. – Support horror in all its forms. Even if I didn’t like the movie you might want to check it out and yell at me about how wrong (or right) I am.
And for your viewing pleasure here is the trailer.
Well…when I finally get it, it will go here.