The following Blu-ray was provided to me by Warner Brothers for review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
Stephen King writes long books. I’m sorry but minus a few exceptions they are like reading encyclopedias, the big kind, collected volume kind. Now there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem can sometimes occur when you translate them to films. The new It did very well by splitting it into 2 films. Another great realm is the television mini series which King has had done before. Only issue there is that they were for network television so they had to be highly edited. Well now something new has come out. The Outsider. This time HBO has given the book a mini series treatment. Which for me was the way to go. A deep story that needed to be long and have the necessary amount of adult situation that television could not do.
Ralph Anderson is a detective in Cherokee City Georgia. When the story, or should I say episode begins he is investigating the murder of a young boy. The body itself has been chewed up with what looks to be human teeth. He doesn’t need long to complete an investigation and pin it all on the local Little League coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman). DNA evidence, fingerprints, open and shut case. In fact they arrest Terry in the middle of a game in front of his friends and family. Problem here is the family has evidence Terry was not even around when the murder happened. They call their lawyer who hires a PI to help Terry. They soon find out that Terry was not only out of town during the killing, but he was on a TV newscast as well. Terry unfortunately has to wait in jail until the trail can begin. Which may be better as it spares him from seeing how the town as turned on his family with a vengeance. Now Trust me when I say this isn’t a spoiler but Terry is soon shot a killed by the victim’s brother when he is being taken to the courthouse for trail, swearing innocents all the way to his death.
Now as this is a Stephen King story, we know its not just a simple murder. In fact this does the old bait and switch. See the first several episodes play out like a detective show. In fact it reminds me a bit of True Detective, another fantastic HBO show. See Ralph knows something isn’t right and upon further digging enlists the help of Holly Gibney, a savant investigator who has dealt with similar cases in the past. In fact she believes it’s the same killer committing this murders. Not only that but she believes the killer is an El Cuco, a shapeshifter from Spanish folklore, and I’ll be honest, she is correct.
This is a great show. I can honestly say it’s one of the best Stephen King adaptations I have ever seen. I love how it was a long slow burn just like the novel. Sure a few things were altered for television but nothing drastic. The overall tone and feeling were fantastic. The acting and in the case of the first few episodes directing by Jason Bateman were outstanding. In fact all the acting was top notch. Ben Mendelsohn as Ralph and Cynthia Erivo as Holly really bring everything together. The score, effects, hell even the general tone and setting all blend together to create a show that changes gears halfway through from Crime Drama to Supernatural horror without you ever questioning it. Its amazing to say the least.
Warner Brothers has just released all 10 episodes on Blu-ray and they look amazing. Nothing against watching anything on television or streaming but for me physical media is the way to go. The pictures is crisp the audio is fantastic, and I don’t have to wait a week to see what happens next. In fact I knocked these out in just 2 days. Warner does and amazing job with their transfers, which is probably easy as HBO does an amazing job with their shows.
If you’re a Stephen King fan, pick this up. If you like supernatural horror, pick this up. If you like crime dramas, pick this up. I guess what I’m saying is that you should definitely pick this one up. It’s a great show from top to bottom, and like I said watching it this way you can finish it up quick, because once you start you will want to see how it ends.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!