When I was a little kid, I had an unusual love of all things spooky. I was the kid who liked reading ‘Goosebumps’ under the covers with a flashlight, I watched ‘Tales from the Crypt’ and ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ when it was released on Beta (boy am I dating myself with that admission!) and never had nightmares or was even remotely scared.
That changed the first time I was allowed to watch ‘The Exorcist’. Little Regan getting possessed scared the daylights out of me, but I watched it over and over again. There was something so intriguing about it, I couldn’t look away. So, when I saw FOX wanted to reboot the movie as a series, I was skeptical and excited at the same time. Now that the premiere has aired, I can say with absolute certainty, they succeeded in continuing to scare the bejeezus out of me!
The premiere of The Exorcist did a great job of introducing you to the main characters, while still managing to maintain a sense of mystery and amped up creep factor. We initially meet Father Tomas Ortega at St. Anthony’s church during one of his sermons. As he greets parishioners at the end, we meet Angela Rance (Geena Davis) and her family.
The Rance family has their share of issues. Henry Rance is suffering from traumatic injuries which leaves his mental faculties diminished. Her daughter, Katherine lost a friend in a car accident and is now home from college and not acting like herself. Angela also implies that she suffers from depression. Then add to the fact that we soon learn the youngest Rance daughter, Casey, is possessed by a demon.
Angela goes to Father Tomas and worries she may have a presence in her home. She has found the furniture moved and has heard “voices in the wall”. She also expresses concern for Katherine in and her current state. About the same time, Father Tomas is having some scary moments of his own as he is being plagued by nightmares and ominous signs.
In his dreams, he sees another Priest, Father Marcus, in a room with a boy he called Gabriel. Father Marcus is in the midst of an exorcism in this dream, and Tomas witnesses some terrifying moments between the Priest and the possessed boy. During a visit to the Rance home for dinner, Henry takes Tomas completely by surprise and mentions where he can find Father Marcus.
Unable to shake the dreams, Father Tomas seeks out Father Marcus to see if he can shed some divine light on demonic possession. When Father Tomas is able to describe in detail what happened to Gabriel, Father Marcus confirms that was an exorcism that had taken place 18 months earlier in Mexico. Tomas pleads for help, but it isn’t until the end of the episode that Father Marcus decides to take out the exorcist’s tool bag and help.
Tomas goes back to the Rance’s home to check on Katherine. When he is talking to Angela, they hear a noise upstairs. As they are going to check on Angela’s daughters, the ladder from the attic drops down in front of him. Father Tomas goes up to search the attic, and he is attacked by a girl clearing in possession of a demonic force. The twist: it’s not Katherine, but the youngest daughter, Casey.
As Angela comes up the ladder, Tomas is freed and Casey is standing there looking completely normal and says she just watched Tomas kill a rat. After Father Tomas leaves the house, he turns and looks back up at the windows to see Casey standing there, with a slight smile on her face.
While the show pays homage to the movie in many subtle ways, it is definitely it’s own story and one that can go more indepth than the movie was able to. The cast is great, and there were a few moments – notably with Tomas in the attic – that I felt every hair on my arms and neck standing on end.
“Chapter One: And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee”
The title of this episode comes from Psalm 102:1 A prayer of an afflicted person…
A Prayer of the Afflicted when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the LORD. Hear my prayer, O LORD! And let my cry for help come to You. 2Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress; Incline Your ear to me; In the day when I call answer me quickly.…
Using this biblical verse as the title for the premiere is quite telling. Other references to it throughout the bible point to people in distress, and turning to the Lord for help, guidance or salvation. As the season goes on, it will be an interesting correlation between the titles and biblical verses and how it will tie into each episode.
The episode also left you with many questions:
- Is Katherine possessed too? What about Henry?
- Who was the creepy guy that Father Tomas met on the bench before finding Father Marcus?
- Will Father Marcus recover from Gabriel’s exorcism and be able to help the Rance family along with Father Tomas?
Did you watch The Exorcist’s premiere? Did it leave you wanting to sleep with the lights on? Chapter 2 of The Exorcist on FOX airs on Friday, September 30th at 9 p.m.