The new Cinemax series Outcast premiered last Saturday (May 23rd) on the premium cable network. While I wouldn’t call the melancholy opening action packed, it was definitely interesting. The beautifully shot pilot of this dramatic thriller is superbly constructed by modern horror maestro Adam Wingard. Lets take a look at 5 key moments from episode 1, A Darkness Surrounds Him.
The series opens on a slightly dysfunctional family unit. A mother and daughter argue over a busted curfew while were shown a little boy named Joshua in a bedroom down the hall. The child watches a cockroach crawl up his wall until suddenly, he slams his head against the wall obliterating the insect’s insides all over his face before biting off his own finger. This is our first sign of what’s to come.
4. Mommy Dearest.
We’re introduced to our main character Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) around the eight minute mark. Through several chronologically oblivious flashbacks we quickly understand that Barnes is a man with a dark and haunted past. Soon after we’re given a shocking glimpse of Kyle’s possessed mother who ushers in a fierce onslaught of abuse towards her son.
3. The Good Father
Reverend Anderson (Phillip Glenister) is presented to us on as a card playing man of God with a warm sense of humor. The Reverend is called across town to see Joshua, the possessed child from the opening sequence. Once the good Father arrives he delves directly into a bruising physical battle with the entity inside Joshua. This scene leaves us with great concern about Reverend Anderson’s character and his brutal methods of ritual.
2. “You Hurt Your Little Girl”
Kyle is tricked by his sister in to attending an impromptu family dinner. It’s clear that both his brother-in-law and his niece want nothing to do with him. Kyle is sitting alone in the living room when his niece enters and states, “You hurt your little girl and now you’re not her daddy anymore”. The words destroy him completely and almost instantly. The scene leaves us with both questions of what has occurred and a subtle understanding that Kyle was likely not as responsible as we’re initially led to believe.
1. Exorcism Stories
This pilot episode is a long setup of mostly unanswered questions about Kyle’s supernatural past. When Barnes is eventually drawn to Joshua and Reverend Anderson we realize that he is something special, a living weapon forged to fight the demonic darkness of our world. As Kyle faces off with the possessed boy we’re given more information about his past and about his strange abilities. After this harrowing ordeal we finally understand Kyle’s true struggle and how it’s affected those close to him.
There you have it fright fans. Outcast is original and deceptively intelligent. It’s also slightly frustrating as it chooses to show us its story at its own pace instead of loading the viewer down with lazy exposition. I’ll be back next week to talk about the 5 key moments from episode 2, see you next time Horror Hounds.