Spoiler Warning for the Series Premiere of “Outcast”
Intense horror and drama make up Cinemax’s newest series, which is based on a comic book series by Robert Kirkman. Does that name sound familiar to you? Kirkman is the creator of “The Walking Dead” comic book series, which has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon franchise of television shows and video games. Although, don’t expect to see zombies in this series. Rather, demons are the frightening source of terror in this universe. Directly from the opening scene, “Outcast” establishes itself as a gripping and disturbing roller-coaster ride.
The series takes a terrifying turn in the first few seconds as a possessed young boy named Joshua Austin (Gabriel Bateman) smashes his head into a roach that is crawling on a wall. Blood covers the boy’s face as he wanders into his kitchen and shocks his mother. The boy’s mother calls local Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) for help, but this is truly an extreme case. The acting talents of young Gabriel Bateman are astonishing, especially with such dark material. Through flashbacks and dialogue, viewers learn that this is just one case of demonic possession that has been noted in this small West Virginia town.
The series follows the mysterious recluse, Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), as he becomes wrapped up in the town’s latest possession. Kyle is revealed to have had a very dark history, as his mother and ex-wife were both once possessed by the enigmatic entity. Kyle’s mother is still alive, but lives at a nursing home in a catatonic state. Meanwhile, Kyle’s ex-wife Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil) appears to have recovered; she is shown to be living with her daughter. The character of Kyle is one of the most intriguing in the series. He rarely goes out in public due to the almost constant whispers, glares and stares from people around him, most of which truly only know part of his troubled backstory. However, Kyle’s adopted sister Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt) does make a regular effort to reach out and help him. Megan’s husband Mark (David Denman) is far less willing to accept Kyle into the family, citing him as a danger to the people around him. This will surely be a major plot point of the season as the family dynamic changes. Kyle’s dark past allows him to better understand what is happening to Joshua Austin. He visits the young boy with Reverend Anderson and chaos ensues as Kyle uses violence in an attempt to remove the demon. This greatly contrasts the efforts of Reverend Anderson, who believes religion is the true cure.
“Outcast” is definitely not a show for the faint of heart. Demonic possession is nothing new, but this series presents it in a fresh and extra-creepy way. The gritty realism of life and consequences is nicely juxtaposed to the eerie supernatural aspect. With an exceptionally talented cast and a thought-provoking premise, viewers are likely in for a thrilling ten-episode first season. In typical Robert Kirkman fashion, there will likely be major plot twists and turns at every corner. Who will be the next host of this puzzling entity? Be sure to tune in to “Outcast” each Friday at 10 p.m. on Cinemax.