Demons trump zombies. And demons trying to suck the life force out of you trumps all.
Sure, there were some familiar tropes on Outcast Season 1 Episode 1, but it still didn't make the premiere of Robert Kirkman's latest comic adaptation any less scary.
Call me a chicken, but demons and demonic possessions freak me out. They are my all-time favorite tendril of the horror genre, which I guess doesn't make much sense when it scares someone as easily as it does me.
But, I can't stay away. Call me obsessed, which is why I was pretty excited when I heard about Cinemax's new series from the creator of The Walking Dead.
Although I do own the comics, I have not read them, and I don't plan to, at least not until the TV series is over.
One of the things I learned from Preacher, was that reading the comics beforehand wasn't necessarily a good thing. There are too many expectations, too much distraction with comparisons, and luckily I didn't delve too far into the comics with that series.
From the opening credits, the tone and pace of Outcast is set as we slither along with an oily, black entity as it moves through Rome, West Virginia. Between that sequence and the foreboding music, we already know something bad is happening in this small town.
And it's mostly because of Kyle Barnes.
We aren't given too much information about him, but what we do know is there's a demon, or some supernatural entity, that's got a thing for this guy. We also know he's miserable. Anyone who lives in that sort of squalor is not a happy person.
The why of it all is never answered, nor did I expect it to be, but it certainly makes for an intriguing story and the need to unravel the mystery strong.
The horror of what Kyle has to face hits us almost immediately when Joshua's head takes on a cockroach. Yes, it was gory and gross, but nothing like the finger-licking good snack the creepy kid has a few moments later. It literally made my knees hurt.
The boy is possessed, and it's the same entity that apparently possessed Kyle's mom, wife, and maybe even his daughter.
Sure, there is a lot of familiarity with the story being told and with the images being shown, but when you're able to take the best of the best and make it better, that's something to be said. Outcast isn't at that point yet, but it's striving to get there.
I thought the exorcism scenes in particular were outstanding. No matter now many times I've seen scenes like these on television and film, I still get chills, because, c'mon people, it's an exorcism. And demons are scary, and if you're watching alone in the dark...well, there you go.
Demons are tricksters. They want you to be more scared of them than you need to be.Reverend Anderson
From Joshua's early attacks on Reverend Anderson and his mother to his telling Kyle he knows him, to him trying to suck the life force out of the guy, those were some pretty powerful scenes.
One thing I don't get is why Kyle questioned the authenticity of Joshua's exorcism. He knows it's real, so why did he think the kid was faking it? Was it just a denial thing?
The most disturbing was that final scene with Kyle trying to punch the demon out of Joshua. I really thought he was going to kill the kid. But, it was interesting that was the method he used to get the demon out of his mom. I'm guessing he used this same method with his wife and daughter which is what the "bad thing" was that Megan's daughter spoke of.
So, is Kyle an angel? It's interesting that his blood and/or tears can burn this demon. Does this work on all demons or just this particular one and why?
Kyle and the Reverend make a great team. As miserable as Kyle is, he's a found a purpose, and a partner to help him. Both of them are searching for something greater, and both have a layered history, both with each other and separately.
And the performances from both Patrick Fugit and Phillip Glenister are nothing short of amazing.
"A Darkness Surrounds Him" is a horrific beginning to what's surely going to be one sinister and mysterious ride. Whatever this supernatural entity is that's obsessed with Kyle, and the whys of it all is what's going to keep me coming back each week. This may very well be the best show of the summer!
What did you think of "A Darkness Surrounds Him?" Are you intrigued by Kyle's story? Why is this demon obsessed with him? Will you be tuning in for the next episode? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
The next installment of Outcast, "(I Remember) When She Loved Me," airs on Friday, June 10 at 10/9c on Cinemax. If you can't wait until then, you can watch Outcast online right here via TV Fanatic!
Lisa Babick is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.