Magazine article Variety

The Exorcist

Magazine article Variety

The Exorcist

Article excerpt

The Exorcist

TV REVIEW

Drama: 13 episodes (1 reviewed); Fox, Fri. Sept. 23, 9 p.m.

Starring: Geena Davis, Alan Ruck, Alfonso Herrera

One would be forgiven for reacting with anger, or, more appropriately, horror, at the idea of "The Exorcist" being retooled for the small screen. 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 capitalize on the box office of an established property. The first installment 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.

This is not a property "Exorcist" fans need to avoid, especially given the sensitivity of the adaptation by writer/exec producer Jeremy Slater, and the quality of the cast, which includes Geena Davis as Angela Rance, a businesswoman and mother, and Ben Daniels, who plays haunted priest Father Marcus Keane. There's always the chance this "Exorcist" may falter after the pilot, but Slater, director/exec producer Rupert Wyatt, and the show's capable array of actors have given it an exceptionally effective starting point.

Wyatt shows an exquisite sense of control throughout the pilot, which is set in Chicago and Mexico City. The way that leaves skitter across a street on an unassuming Midwestern street on a blustery fall day, the angle from which he shot a rundown apartment building on a hill in Mexico, the deep blues and blacks of the director's palette, and the lived-in spareness of the production design - all these meticulous choices reinforce a quiet yet palpable sense of dread and foreboding. …

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