Outcast: Season 1 (2016) is, in my humble opinion, the best horror show of the year and the best new show of the summer. Based on Robert Kirkman's (The Walking Dead) horror comic-book series of the same name, it deals with Kyle Barnes, a troubled young man with a dark past, as he deals with his newfound ability to exorcise demons out of possessed humans.
But this is not your typical demonic possession/exorcism tale, with Catholic trappings and over-the-top exorcism sequences, as Kirkman and co. have something else in mind. This is a show that is all about mood, deliberate pacing, and dark imagery that lingers in the mind. There are jump scares and "demons" aplenty, but the emphasis here is on grounded horror, gritty, blue-collar characters, and devastating violence, both physical and psychological, especially child abuse and its long-lasting effects on the psyches of the victims.
While the overly ambiguous nature of the evil/antagonist of the story can be frustrating, especially in the season finale, which asks more questions than it answers, this is a richly textured, subdued horror show, that is clever, moving, and horrific. Highly recommended.
Highlights: The compelling pilot, directed by Adam Wingard (The Guest, You're Next), and the pen-ultimate episode, "Close to Home", a horrific, disturbing hour of television that is even more powerful than the somewhat disappointing season finale.
Text © Ahmed Khalifa. 2016.