Roush Review: Outcast Chills, Feed the Beast Bores

Matt Roush
Outcast
Niko Tavernise/Fox International Studios/Cinemax

When in Rome—Rome, West Virginia, that is—duck and cover, because demons lurk everywhere: inside an 8-year-old boy, infecting a wizened invalid (Twin Peaks’ Grace Zabriskie, still a sight to behold), possessing wives and mothers and who knows who’s next. Cinemax’s Outcast, the latest from The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman—and like so much else on TV, derived from a graphic novel—is horror to be taken seriously, a far cry from AMC’s campy, more scattershot Preacher.

More Roush Reviews: See What Matt Thinks About Other Shows

As if The Exorcist had relocated to Banshee (Cinemax’s just-concluded exercise in the extreme), this deeply unnerving series follows the exploits of two battle-worn warriors trying to rid a rural outpost of dark forces: the irascible Reverend Anderson (Life on Mars’ formidable Philip Glenister) and his haunted and reluctant protégé, Kyle Barnes (soulful Patrick Fugit, Almost Famous), whose childhood traumas have followed him into fatherhood.

This is the sort of unrelenting fright-fest that can find menace in objects as ordinary as a Hummel figurine. Before long, you may cringe whenever anyone goes to open a closet or pantry door. Even worse is when the reverend suggests, “Some souls are capable of creating evil without the devil’s help.” The best horror stories always know that humans can make the scariest monsters of all.

Feed the Beast

Ali Paige Goldstein/AMC

Feed The Beast

UNDERCOOKED: We’re always looking to sample something new, so applaud AMC’s Feed the Beast for attempting to invent a fresh genre: food noir. A shame the ingredients of this mopey melodrama, about two losers chasing a dream of opening a swank restaurant in the gritty Bronx, taste so stale.

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Start with David Schwimmer’s incessantly doleful, hangdog countenance as Tommy, a widower living with his son (who hasn’t spoken since witnessing mommy’s death) in an abandoned piano factory that would have housed the couple’s dream eatery. Tommy drowns his sorrows in fine wines, while his best bud, Dion (Jim Sturgess), a cocky ex-con who’s a whiz in the kitchen, is a coke fiend in hock to clichéd gangsters—one of whom has a thing for pulling teeth, among other mutilations.

Feed the Beast only truly comes alive when Dion is concocting one of his sumptuous meals in a fiery frenzy of innovation. We might be tempted to buy the cookbook, but there’s not much else that’s appetizing in this glum playbook.

Outcast, Series Premiere, Friday, June 3, 10/9c, Cinemax.

Feed the Beast, Series Premiere, Sunday, June 5, 10/9c; Timeslot premiere, Tuesday, June 7, 10/9c, AMC.