Everyone’s heard of The Exorcist (1973): the horror classic which is one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. Focusing on a possessed young girl, it had a simple plotline and created a lasting legacy. To take such an iconic movie and transform it into a ten episode series was always going to be a huge risk. Horror fans across the globe expressed apprehension when the show was first announced, and even after the first episode, but now you have popular sites like blooding-disgusting.com telling horror geeks to ignore their initial warnings and actually give the show a chance. As with quite a few horror shows, FOX’s The Exorcist isn’t a ratings success, yet has attracted a loyal following of fans. So much so that, at the time of writing this, the show has yet to be renewed for a second season, resulting in fans, and the cast, tweeting #RenewTheExorcist.
Unlike Scream: The TV Series which just uses the Scream brand to attract viewers, Jeremy Slater’s modernised exorcism tale is essentially a sequel to The Exorcist movies. I won’t give too much away but it’s safe to say the events in the movie and the show are connected. The show follows rebellious Father Marcus (Ben Daniels) and typically-‘good’ Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera), each with their own inner demons, so to speak, as they attempt to save the Rance family from the clutches of a (actual) demon. Daniels is an incredible British talent, recognisable for his roles in Cutting It and House of Cards, whilst Herrera may be familiar for his part in Netflix’s Sense8. These two actors make the show what it is, and although Father Marcus isn’t your typical hero, Daniels brings so much likability to him, even if the character would perhaps not be the most likable in real life.
The show has enough experienced talent with the two leads, though add Alan Ruck and Geena Davis to the cast and you know it’ll be full of wonderful performances. Ruck, who portrayed the side-kick best friend in the John Hughes classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, plays Henry Rance, whilst Davis, the legendary actress from Thelma and Louise and Beetlejuice, takes on his matriarch Angela. Struggling with family issues, the last thing the couple needs is for one of their daughters to become possessed by an evil demon.
The Exorcist isn’t just a show of seasoned actors though, with the two Rance daughters being played by the talented up-and-coming actresses Brianne Howey and Hannah Kasulka. They may not be well-known but that doesn’t mean they lack star-potential. Both Howey and Kasulka add greatly to the dynamic of this fantastic show, and this is likely the very start of promising careers for both ladies – or at least it should be.
FOX’s adaptation is full of surprises and shocking moments, and thankfully quite a few unnerving and, dare I say it, scary scenes too. It’s a shocker in itself that Slater took such a classic and created a TV masterpiece. It’s clear throughout the season that it’s a well-thought out concept and the shocks are far from cheap-thrills. Whilst obviously grappling with religion and faith, the show isn’t religious propaganda either, something which the movie executed wonderfully too. If you’re a fan of the 1973 movie, then give the show a watch and let’s hope for a renewal soon!