Frank Peterson is found dead in the woods covered in saliva and human bite marks. Biological evidence at the crime scene combined with video surveillance and several witness accounts prove the undeniable guilt of little league coach Terry Maitland. Local Detective on the case, Ralph Anderson, is enraged, his own son having been coached by Maitland, and has him immediately arrested in front of the whole town in the middle of a little league game.
Maitland claims he is innocent and that he wasn’t even in town at the time of the murder, but the overwhelming evidence doesn’t leave much room for his story. However, this seemingly cut and dry case is quickly complicated by Alec Pelley, a private investigator hired by the Maitland’s family lawyer, who provides additional, and undeniable evidence proving Maitland’s alibi that he was, in fact, out of town at a teacher’s conference at the time of the murder. Baffled and unconvinced, Anderson continues his investigation.
The Peterson family is disintegrating after the death of their youngest member. Mrs. Peterson suffers from a hysterical episode followed by a severe heart attack, leaving only Frank’s father and older brother to carry on. Maitland’s decision to decline a bulletproof vest is proven faulty when the oldest Peterson boy shows up with a gun at the arraignment. He is killed by surrounding police officers, but not before Maitland receives one of his vengeful bullets.
Anderson attempts to glean a confession from the wounded Maitland, but he maintains his story on his dying breath. Ralph Anderson and Alec Pelley join forces to continue the investigation as a deformed figure watches the occurrences from a distance. The town is about to discover that the world is not everything they expected it to be.
The production team for The Outsider includes several big names, including Richard Price as lead writer and Emmy award-winning Jason Bateman as lead director. The show itself is an interesting (if not altogether satisfying) combination of a small-town supernatural and true detective mystery. The film style is nuanced and subtle, but this stylistic choice often compromises the storytelling. Some of the important scenes are shot from odd angles or from far away.
Many scenes are filmed in almost complete darkness. While people may come to see some dark themes–including child murders, suicides, violence, and supernatural occurrences–they don’t necessarily come for literal darkness. While it may heighten intensity, it can create confusion if the viewer literally cannot see what is occurring. This combined with the sometimes mechanical plot left many viewers disappointed at the classic adaptation. However, Stephen King’s story stands for itself, even in less than ideal circumstances.
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