From Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead) comes yet another show based on one of his comic book series. In fact, Outcast was picked up a week after the first issue was released in stores. Starring Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous) as Kyle Barnes, a man who has been tormented his whole life by demons, he has returned home only to find himself in the middle of paranormal activity once again.
To say that horror is proliferating our airwaves would be an understatement and at this point, we’ve been burned more than once. (I’m looking at you Scream and Damien.) So, it’s only normal that one would be a bit apprehensive about yet another serialized horror show. Well, take me to church to repent for my negative, preconceived notions because this pilot episode comes to us courtesy of director Adam Wingard (You’re Next, A Horrible Way to Die) and it’s a standout. How many television shows can claim that? The pilot episode is usually like the first pancake:you forgive it for being lackluster, but this, happily, is not the case with Outcast.
Opening with Joshua (Gabriel Bateman), a young boy who is exhibiting truly strange behavior, we are immediately thrown into the darkness that seems to plague this small, quiet church community. It would be no fun to ruin what this kid does, so we shall persevere on.
In what would appear to be an unusual decision, Kyle has moved back into the childhood home where his mother abused and tormented him while she was possessed by a demon. His adoptive sister, Megan, comes by to illustrate to us how depressing Kyle’s situation is and to take him into town where we will see that he is not welcomed with open arms back into the community, but one woman has decided that his return is a sign. While we aren’t yet entirely sure what Kyle’s sordid past entails, Megan’s husband is disproportionately unhappy to see him in his house. We are then treated to his Kyle’s niece saying to him, “You hurt your little girl and now you’re not her daddy anymore.”
Despite having an emotionally rocky time returning to his childhood home, Kyle decides to go by Joshua’s house just to see what all of the talk is about. Coincidentally, Reverend Anderson is there unsuccessfully trying to rid the boy of the demon. Still claiming that he didn’t come to help, Kyle ends up heading to the boy’s room as the reverend tells him, “These things are everywhere, they’re all around us. Now, you’ve been gone a long time; you don’t know how bad it’s gotten. You may not believe it, but that doesn’t make it any less true.”
When Kyle enters Joshua’s room, the demons says, “I know you. You’re all grown up. You’d barely even fit in that pantry now.” The conversation then escalates in creepiness from here. Despite still proclaiming he doesn’t believe in the darkness, Kyle comes back the next day only to participate in one of the finest exorcism scenes. Ever. Wingard did not fuck around with this scene and both Fugit and Bateman really delivered. Exorcism scenes can go wrong so quickly and when a child is involved, the potential for disaster is multiplied by 100, but this kid killed it.
Back to Kyle’s dubious past. A flashback shows us that his estranged wife, Allison, appears to have been possessed by a demon and Kyle has taken the blame for any of the physical injuries that their daughter sustained while this was occurring. I’m definitely excited to see what the whole backstory is on this. What are the odds that one man’s mother and wife are possessed by a demon? Kyle is the common denominator, so he’s clearly more involved in all of this than he wants to believe he is.
So, where is Kyle’s mom? She’s in a vegetative state at the local nursing home. The flashback scenes between Kyle and his mother are a perfect mix of gritty, bleak fear mixed with unfortunate sadness. There is obviously a lot more to learn here and I’m looking forward to it.
Overall, this was a supremely kickass pilot episode. It may be the millionth demon story we’ve seen, but it has it’s own unique feel. As we’ve come to expect from Wingard, the score in this episode was impeccable at consistently setting the perfect tone and the lighting was on point as well. Wingard has a deft capability to create the right atmosphere all the way down to the minute details. Pair that with Kirkman’s uncanny ability to create flawed, yet charismatic, characters and it looks as though we might have must see television on our hands.
Loved the Castle Grayskull.
Does Kate Lyn Sheila have a contract to be in all Wingard projects?
The Cure at the end was a perfect music choice.