The Exorcist is one of the greatest American horror films ever made. Director William Friedkin approached the subject matter with utter seriousness and crafted a terrifying tale that is still impacting audiences to this day. Though a number of sequels followed (only The Exorcist III is worth a watch, and it’s even a compromised film due to studio interference), nothing has been able to recapture the believable dread of that first film.
Fox is going to give it their best shot though; the studio that recently debuted a television adaptation of Minority Report has ordered a pilot for a rebooted TV take on The Exorcist. The initial episode will be written by Jeremy Slater, the writer behind last year’s *ahem” coldly received Fantastic Four. In Slater’s defense, the film on screen bares no resemblance to his draft — he famously said that only one line of dialogue from his version made it into the finished film — but he’ll carry that screen credit with him wherever he goes. Here’s hoping this project turns out better than that one.
Although, I have to confess to being perplexed as to why there’s a need to reboot The Exorcist at all. The market is already overflowing with films about exorcisms, so this feels mostly like a reason to just use the brand name. Will this show feature characters from the original like Regan, Father Karras, or Father Merrin? Without some connection to the characters from the original films, I fear this will only be The Exorcist in name only.
Horror television has been enjoying a big turn in popularity thanks to hits like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story, so it makes sense for a lot of the big studios to use their horror properties on television for smaller budgets and consistent audiences. Still, it’s going to be a serious uphill struggle making this television incarnation anywhere near as scary as William Friedkin’s modern masterpiece.