Review: Outcast (Pilot)

From the creators of The Walking Dead and based on Kirkman’s comic book series, Outcast gives us a new style of horror for us to sink our teeth into. Naturally, fans of TWD are going to compare this to their favourite phenomenally successful tv show and for that reason alone it means that viewers will have very high expectations. Myself included.  Sure enough, you can easily spot the similarities in Outcast to TWD. The title sequence, the backward town with a super creepy pristine white wooden church and quite blatantly, the extreme violence.  However, Outcast focuses on demonic possession and exorcism, a different style of horror to TWD.  I can’t speak for everyone, but based on what family and friends have told me, it seems that the majority of us are more easily scared by the paranormal and supernatural, rather than by flesh-eating zombies.

The first five minutes of the episode, was the best part.  I was hooked right from the word go.  It starts with a young boy (of about 9 years old) in his room, staring intently at a bug on the wall.  It all seems very calm and innocent until he swipes it, eats it and then bashes his head against the wall with a very loud thud, leaving his head all bloodied.  But he doesn’t even wince. That was mildly disturbing.  The boy then goes downstairs to eat some crisps and his mother then realises that he’s actually gnawing away at his own finger, ripping the skin off whilst looking rather pleased with himself.  This was very disturbing. After that we then get to learn about the lead Kyle (Patrick Fugit), who has cut himself off from the outside world, locking himself away in his childhood home on the outskirts of town.  It was quite long-winded, piecing together his back story but we learn enough to know that an evil presence has surrounded him since he was a child and it has been relentless in terrorising the people closest to him.  He finds out about this local young boy Joshua that the town’s Preacher (Philip Glenister) believes to be possessed and they join forces to save him.

I’m a horror movie junkie.  Sadly there aren’t that many movies nowadays that frighten me and for this, I had high hopes. There were parts that gave me the hibee jebees and made me feel quite uncomfortable.  One part in particular, in a flashback of his childhood, we can see his mother’s silhouette standing in the doorway behind him but you can only see her dirty body and black mass of hair. She approaches him slowly and it looks as though she’s comforting him, until she flips out, drags him across the room by his hair and locks him in the pantry.  There were moments with the boy Joshua as well, when he was simply moving in awkward positions, clicking his bones out of place and acting animal like. I found these moments a lot scarier than when he was exercising his super strength and vomiting the demon all over the ceiling.  This for me, ruined it slightly.  Using the comic book feel in this style of horror, is not going to make it terrifying enough, it’s going to make it laughable. It suited TWD down to a tee but I think Outcast, if it aims to scare, it’s going to need to be less over the top and more realistic. 

In order to scare, a lot of the time I think less is more.  But that’s never the case in a comic book so if their aim isn’t to scare the sh** out of their viewers then I really hope that a strong story line develops!  I’ve got the horrid feeling that each episode is going to be very similar, with a CSI kind of vibe.  I hope there isn’t a new victim every week and at the end of each episode they cast out the demon, along with the back story of Kyle getting one step closer to understanding the events of his past.  I’ve got strong hopes for the cast though, Philip Glenister in particular.  He isn’t really given the chance to shine in the first episode but I’m looking forward to seeing his character develop.  Overall I think the pilot tries to cram so much into it, that we’re only given tiny glimpses of promise for what could potentially be a fantastic show.  I’m going to stick this one out because I want to see where they take it.  I just hope that other viewers with doubts like mine, will also do the same. It’s well worth a watch!

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