The Outsider: a peculiar horror
HBO welcomed 2020 with The Outsider, a TV series that has raised the bar for all horror productions to come throughout the year.
Based on the novel of the name by the successful author Stephen King, The Outsider combines a police thriller with supernatural horror, while exploring with special attention the relationships, personalities and affections of each of its characters. The great series’ technical achievements have led it to be recognized as one of the best adaptations of King‘s work and the best television adaptation of one of his books.
Searching for the unknown
With over sixty novels and over two hundred published stories, Stephen King is one of the most prolific authors in the industry. His novel The Outsider, published in 2018, is set in the fictional Flint City, where detective Ralph Anderson arrests school baseball coach Terry Maitland during one of the team’s games, accusing him of raping, killing, and mutilating an 11-year-old boy. The police have proof of his guilt, but Maitland also has proof of his innocence. Soon, the crime will become even darker, gradually introducing us to an inexplicable horror.
The HBO adaptation was carried out by producer and writer Richard Price and stars Jason Bateman, who also directed some episodes, in the role Terry Maitland. In other leading roles are actor Ben Mendelsohn as Detective Anderson and Cynthia Erivo as Holly Gibney, a private detective who will help them deal with the unknown. All characters must fight against their preconceptions and extend the limits of their understanding to unmask the evil that haunts them from the shadows.
The power of stories
Through as a 10-episode miniseries, The Outsider directly shows its narrative layout in the first one, hooking the audience with an interesting and apparently inexplicable case. Having established the parameters of the story, the series can now dedicate the rest of its episodes to explore the psyche of each of the characters related to the case, their methods, personalities and, especially, their fears.
The Outsider‘s peculiar cinematography makes it an audiovisual experience unmatched in contemporary television. Tilting cameras and stealthy blurs show us the characters from afar, through slits and reflections, inviting us to contemplate from the distance their resignation to the truths they must now endure. At the same time, mystery and horror are supported by a great dramatic story, fueled by the memories and childhood stories that the characters tell each other in the show to externalize their beliefs. The anecdotes that constantly creep into the dialogues suggest the nature of the horror that awaits the characters, inviting them to open their minds or live forever as outsiders themselves in an unknown reality.