Can Fox manage to revive the fortunes of one of the most notorious horror movies ever made? We’ll know soon enough as The Exorcist makes its way to the network. Attendees at Comic-Con got to see the pilot, but the rest of us at least have a trailer to get spooked about:
The trailer does look interesting, but is it The Exorcist? It feels a little like every other exorcist movie, though if we are honest every such film has drawn deeply from the well of William Friedkin’s masterpiece. In other words, there is no way to tell if this will be a good show for the franchise or just a good show about exorcisms (or if it won’t be good at all).
Feedback from the people who watched the pilot at Comic-Con is positive, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: reveals from such conferences are almost always likely to be positive. Blame it on the excitement in the air or the chance to get a free scoop. In my years attending E3 I have seen conferences reach the zeal of evangelical congregations. Objectivity, already a rare commodity in geek media, goes out of the window.
At these times I always remember the wise words of Public Enemy: don’t believe the hype.
Still, a strong cast and clearly a good budget will help the TV shows. Its real problem is that The Exorcist is cursed as far as spin-offs and sequels go. As someone who has seen every one of the films several times, I can testify that outside of the original they are all rubbish. But the show may be pulling from those too: I’m certain the ‘double iris’ thing is from one of the two lacklustre prequels.
The Exorcist has a ‘lightning in a bottle’ problem. Friedkin wasn’t a horror director, which helped bring such a fresh experience to the genre. His film was also a brilliant example of slow-burn success: you need to get through two thirds of it before reaching the insane stuff. The director’s cut added a bit more, but The Exorcist remains a very cerebral experience for its first half.
Now I have a tough time putting ‘Fox’ and ‘cerebral’ together, plus I lack confidence that Fox would allow the show to reach for the really shocking and religiously dubious stuff. But I could be wrong, so let’s pin this one on the ‘maybe’ board.
Last Updated: January 4, 2017