Thursday, May 26, 2016

My Outcast Experience At Philadelphia's Spookiest Hot Spot

Outcast is based on the Skybound/Image comic produced for CINEMAX by FOX International Studios (FIS).

The show follows Kyle Barnes, a young man who has been plagued by possession since he was a child. Now an adult, he embarks on a journey to find answers but what he uncovers could mean the end of life on Earth as we know it.

Admittedly, I sat too close.

Probably by way of some freakish algorithm studios are using to promote their pop culture products, I was selected to be a VIP patron for the exclusive screening of Cinemax's foray into scripted genre television, Outcast. This took place at one of Philadelphia's most famous (and apparently haunted) landmarks, Eastern State Penitentiary in which the setting set a complimentary tone for the show's own texture. There are serious parts in the prison just riddled with debris, and the event organizers use of light felt like being engulfed in an Argento film. I heard rumblings about this show but kept my distance because while only casually intrigued, I wanted to check out the pilot as blind as possible. The mystery almost always enhances my viewing experience. And concerning Outcast, I'm really glad I did.

Additionally, there was swag.

Draped in the dreariness of small town Rome, West Virginia is a force that infects certain people connected to our tormented protagonist Kyle (Patrick Fugit). Outcast certainly capitalizes on the longstanding theme of possession, but it pairs the typical humanized by way of moral ambiguity preacher with the richly developed, questioning Kyle, almost content in his struggle but desperately needing answers to his lifelong afflictions.

Pilot director Adam Wingard (You're Next, The Guest) along with the pen of comic and series creator Robert Kirkman (also of The Walking Dead and more) create a delightfully jarring pilot that does well of trapping you with care to the characters first. It's the obvious and most successful aspect thus far. While servicing a significant amount of originality, this is a story in some variation we have seen. Outcast provides a nice balance of the gnarly (one such scene involving an insect that was just awesome) and sincerity. The relationships between the main players are just as mysterious as the plot itself, giving viewers a story they're intrigued to see unravel. I know I am. This should be a fun, dark ride.

Outcast premieres on Cinemax on Friday, June 3.

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