Most of you know that I just recently found my way into comic books. I’ve spent the last year trying to familiarize myself with the characters and stories from industry powerhouses DC and Marvel, so I haven’t found the time (or the funds) to also explore less popular indie comics. But before you ask, I have not read Outcast by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta. I was invited to a very creepy screening of Outcast, which was held in a cemetery…in the rain….at night.
Set in a small southern town called “Rome”, Outcast is writer Robert Kirkman’s (The Walking Dead) latest foray into cable television. The show follows main character Kyle Barnes, (played perfectly by Patrick Fugit), who is trying to understand why the people around him keep getting possessed by a demon and why he seems to the be only one that can bring the devil out of them. Barnes is an interesting character, he is simultaneously broken, scared and optimistic.
I know that it may sound weird for someone in his position to appear optimistic, but I attended the Outcast panel at New York City Comic Con last year and when asked why they chose to cast Fugit to play the main character, creator Robert Kirkman said it was because Fugit approached Barnes with a little bit of optimism. At the time I found that comment to be a bit confusing considering what the show was about, but by the end of the episode we get a sample of the optimism that Kirkman was referring to.
The first scene is shocking. REALLY shocking. So much so that it left a room full of hardcore zombie and horror fans with their jaws on the floor. But much like Kirkman’s post Zombie Apocalypse hit TV show, The Walking Dead, which isn’t really about the zombies, Outcast isn’t really about being possessed. It’s about how Barnes and this small town deals with the deviation, fear and confusion the demon brings with it. It’s about forgiveness and learning how to move forward. Kirkman avoids the typical narratives of possession and demon centered films by focusing on what happens after the demon has been exorcised from its victims. Speaking of its victims, Gabriel Bateman, who plays a child possessed is fantastic. He dives headfirst into the role (literally) and absolutely horrifying.
I should also mention that Kirkman deals with the topic of religion with a considerable amount of nuance and respect. The religious folks in the town appear to be kind-hearted and well intentioned. Despite not being a believer, Barnes agreed to keep the demons latest victim in his thoughts and prayers. I thought it was a nice departure from the usual hard lines people on opposing ends of that debate usually take.
To sum it up, Outcast is amazing. Everything from the acting, to the writing, to the pacing to the way it is shot is perfect. This show isn’t just for fans of horror. If you want suspense, great characters and something a bit different I highly suggest you find your way to Cinemax to check it out.
Check out the latest terrifying trailer for Outcast:
Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous, Gone Girl) stars as Barnes, a man searching for answers, and for redemption, who sequesters himself from those he loves for fear of causing greater hurt. Philip Glenister stars as Reverend Anderson, a West Virginia evangelist who believes he is a soldier in God’s holy war against the forces of evil on Earth. An inveterate drinker and gambler, he doesn’t believe God intends people to sweat the small stuff. Gabriel Bateman stars as Joshua Austin, an eight-year-old who lives across town from Kyle. To his family’s dismay, he appears to be in the clutches of demonic possession, but there’s something very different about this possession and its connection to Kyle Barnes.
Robert Kirkman wrote the pilot episode, You’re Next, directed by Adam Wingard.
If you’d like to catch up on Outcast comic before the TV show comes out here are the collected volumes.