Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pilot Review: The Exorcist

The Exorcist (FOX)
Premiered September 23 at 9pm

As a critic, I’m theoretically supposed to enjoy all kinds of films and television. But I just can’t do horror. I don’t enjoy being scared, and premises involving ghosts, demons, and the like don’t appeal to me at all. Enduring the pilot of “Supernatural” eleven years ago, “The Sixth Sense,” and “The House of the Devil” were more than enough for me, and that’s probably almost all the horror I’ve ever seen. As a result, I haven’t watched the renowned 1973 Best Picture nominee that inspired this show. I even considered not tuning in for this pilot, but I figured that it was worth watching just to see. I don’t know how much of what I didn’t like was copied from the original film, but I do know that this pilot didn’t change my feelings about the genre one bit. Much of the time was spent leading up to the big possessed reveal with everyone denying that something might actually be wrong, and then when we finally did see the creepy image of one of the daughters crawling at a sprinter’s pace towards the priest, the scene immediately changed to a far too casual shot of her walking around peacefully once the lights were turned on. Nothing about this compels me, and the overacting by all whenever someone is indeed possessed, particularly the person suffering from demonic hosting, is hard to take seriously. While I wouldn’t say that this is necessarily the worst pilot I have seen this fall (we’ll see) or in a while, it’s definitely the show that I’m least interested in watching for a variety of reasons.

How will it work as a series? I’m not really sure. To me, this seems like a one-shot deal, or at least a miniseries since, at some point, the devil will indeed be exorcised (if that’s how it works; I’m honestly not too sure). I watched the trailer for the rest of the season that aired at the end of the episode, and I think the broad scope that the show is attempting to go after might be a bit ambitious and unsuccessful - I just don’t think this was made to be a TV show, especially not with this title.
How long will it last? While this show seems to be getting the better reviews over other high-profile remakes “Lethal Weapon” and “MacGyver,” its ratings weren’t as impressive. Airing on Friday nights is a challenge but FOX may not be too demanding. At this point, it’s too early to tell, but things could go either way.

Pilot grade: F

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