Critical Condition: The Exorcist

The Exorcist (TV2, 9.40 Sunday)


“The premiere … doesn’t try to be the movie or outdo it in terms of fright factor, nor does it provide any reasons for mockery. It’s well-made, well-acted television, which is more than can be said for some of the reboots rolling out this fall. Where it’s going after the first episode is anyone’s guess, but fans of sophisticated horror will certainly be curious to find out … The groundwork is laid for the show to explore matters of religious faith — styles of doctrinal interpretation and application, limits of belief, the meaning of temptation in the modern age. There may or may not be a hunger for that kind of thing among TV viewers; the series will continue to be interesting if it at least endeavours to find out.” — New York Times.

“Is nothing sacred, not even the 1973 William Friedkin classic? Apparently not, given TV’s current obsession with relaunching just about any piece of intellectual property that ever made even a modest amount of money. The good news is, Fox’s version of the well-known tale of Satanic possession is much more than just another attempt to capitalise on the box office of an established property. The first instalment of the drama does a truly impressive job of establishing a mournful atmosphere, as it sketches out an array of characters worth following on what promises to be a very challenging journey.” — Variety.

The Exorcist is actually worth a look if you like scary things and have a penchant for scary familiar things you might want told a little differently and a little more deeply. The hour is scary enough but makes its biggest splash by demonstrating that it has plans to expand the worldview of the movie. That alone is interesting, even though a pilot – with no subsequent episodes to view – is an almost impossible barometer of what you’ll get down the line.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

“TV horror needs to offer more than just horror to be successful. It needs visceral style, a hot take perspective, and irreverence.  The surprisingly dull pilot for The Exorcist didn’t have enough of those things to grab me, but it did just enough to keep me curious. Rupert Wyatt’s direction is solid, but he’s too beholden to the visual grammar of his inspiration, and the familiarity dilutes the fear factor. It looks frightening, but it doesn’t chill — the images are cliché, the jump scares barely provoke a jitter.” — Entertainment Weekly.

The Exorcist is a good try at translating a classic from another medium, but it might have had more impact if it knew how to build to its shocks instead of just serving them up as spice, and if we hadn’t seen so many other intimate, creepy TV horror series that use William Friedkin’s film version of William Peter Blatty’s novel as inspiration.” — New York Magazine.

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One Response to “Critical Condition: The Exorcist”

  1. Watched the 1st episode and thought that it was very good.

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