Do we really need an Exorcist TV series?

Adel Gabot



Catching up on my TV backlog, I just watched the series premiere of The Exorcist.

Now, I’m the biggest fan of William Friedkin’s original 1973 movie. I was only 11 when it was first released, yet I insisted on watching it at the earliest possible opportunity, and I haven’t looked back since. It aged well and bears repeated viewings up to today, 43 years later, and still holds up and gives me the same horrified fascination it had when I first watched it all those years ago. The hype was well deserved.

Later, I caught The Exorcist II and was sorely disappointed by it, so much so I didn’t bother to watch The Exorcist III when it came out. But in a lazy moment one afternoon a couple of years later, I picked up the DVD of III on a whim, watched it and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. Astounded, actually. Much much better than the second, it remains a favorite. Can’t say the same for the succeeding retreads though.

Which brings me to the 2016 TV series follow-up. Seriously, do we really need another rehash/retread/remake/do-over?

Well, apparently we do.

Like The Exorcist III, I was pleasantly surprised by the series, at least with the premiere. I was fully expecting to be disappointed and found that, despite my jaded self, I grudgingly… liked it. I hope it keeps it up.

I found it professionally done, with just the right gravitas and seriousness that an update like this deserves. And it has just the extra added grit and horror that makes this one to watch. The old saw about the young priest Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) feeling serious doubts about his calling and the older, rebellious old veteran Father Marcus (Ben Daniels) is there, but there is enough new stuff in it to make it worth your weekly hour.

Father Tomas’s help is sought by a successful mother-who-owns-her-own business (Geena Davis, who has aged rather gracefully) when she suspects something’s amiss with one of their two daughters (Brianne Howey). In turn, Father Tomas seeks the help of Father Marcus, whom he doesn’t know but he’s been having nightmares about, which makes a nice flashback device wherein we explore Marcus’s history as an exorcist.

Great cinematography, excellent acting, well paced, it’s The Exorcist for a more modern time. Not that the original movie really needed the update, mind you.

In a nice twist towards the end (which I should have seen coming but didn’t) it’s revealed that it’s actually the other daughter, the seemingly nice and normal one (Hannah Kasulka) who’s the actual possess-ee, and not the odd and sulky one, who’s apparently just naturally weird.

There is also one nice nod to the series lineage—Father Tomas is leafing through case files of previous exorcisms and comes across an article referring to the original Regan McNeil case in Georgetown. Brief, but it’s there.

Yes, this looks pretty promising. One to watch out for every week. Fingers crossed.




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