Whose messed up brain figured it’ll be a good idea to dish out the horror of The Exorcist in weekly doses? Wasn’t the first time enough? Weren’t the less than equal sequels enough? Weren’t the entirely pointless prequels enough?
Why would you wanna dose yourself with more Pazuzu?
The Exorcist is my favourite horror movie of all time and there’s a good reason for it: nothing’s ever scared me shitless the way The Exorcist did. I was so traumatised by the movie, that I wasn’t even tempted to peek into the Linda Blair issue of Playboy.
Unfortunately, after the attempt to import The Omen, yet another horror classic, for television, I wasn’t all too keen on seeing The Exorcist undergo the same process of unnecessary over-complication and elongating for the sake of serialisation.
Thankfully, the first episode of The Exorcist stood itself well above expectations and played with new elements to the familiar tale while also reminding us of its classic roots.
The second episode however, makes it clear that there were going to be problems with the translation to a 10-episode system. Parts of the story not only seemed unnecessarily slow, but sub-plots seemed to only exist for the sole reason of padding out the story.
Beyond the slow burn, however, the essence of the source material is largely intact. But the show would have probably benefited from a shorter season–maybe 6 or 8 episodes, instead–and a slightly quicker pace.
And the extended arc of the show doesn’t do the horror element much justice. After some time, the mystery of the horror comes too much to light and trades the ghastly terror of the original for a macabre mystery that you’d half expect Constantine or Lucifer to drop in on and kick its demon ass back to purgatory.
However, the show’s ambition to cover more than just the evils of demons is commendable. Strewn across the season, and coming to head at the end, is the idea of evil even within organised religion and in the most unlikely of place.
While the first season is a decent adaptation, a second season may be too contrived to survive… so maybe this should conclude as it is.
The Exorcist airs every Thursday at 10PM on Thrill (Singtel TV Ch 415 and StarHub Ch 618).