So, I was checking my Twitter out of the blue the other day, when I stumbled upon the most interesting conversation ever (at that time anyway). They were talking about the new horror series in town, a show called Penny Dreadful, and how some scenes scared the lights out of them. Of course, as someone who finds some cheap thrill from horror shows and films, I wanted to see the “monstrosity” for myself. It’s been such a long while since I’ve had anything that legitimately made me afraid, and I really, really, really wanted to find something new that would send the hair at the back of my neck standing. Finally, I was able to get the chance to watch the pilot of this show today, and upon careful discernment, here’s what I have to say:
Okay, fine, maybe I am exaggerating it a little bit. There was only one butt scene from what I can remember, and I just finished it an hour ago, so I know I’m accurate.
In any case, the show has failed to… erm… evoke… any strong, terrified reactions from me. This saddens me a little because I was hoping to watch something special, but unfortunately, while the pilot had its good moments, the episode was overall quite mediocre, considering how it felt like the mystery and plot were set aside to make way for some good ole “shock factor”. In fact, if you are curious, the whole time I was watching (with many pauses and distractions in between, sad to say), I had the following reactions:
“Oh, cool, a Brad Pitt look-a-like.”
“Oh, look. A butt. And the mandatory sex scene.”
“Oh, gore. And blood. Lots of them. Looks fake, though.”
“A limped penis. Of a vampire. DEAD vampire. Nasty.”
“More gore. And flesh being sliced open.” *Cue a series of cringes*
“Gibberish. God, I need subtitles. This Psuedo-British accent is killing me.”
“Blah blah blah. Egyptian thingy. Blah blah blah. Curse. Blah blah. Stuff. Things.”
“More gore. And mutilated bodies.”
“Cliché horror trope.” *Laughs*
“Ugh. That penis again.”
“Well, I didn’t expect that to happen.”
Obviously, the best part happened in the last few minutes, which really isn’t much considering 75% of the time in those precious moments were spent on two individuals staring at each other. As much as I want to discuss the intimacy of a staring contest between two men, we have to move on to far more significant issues.
First of all, oh freaking heavens, the gore and blood here were a tad bit overdone. I mean, I could have liked the setting, you know? The late 1800s, the gothic feel, vampires (or something else, maybe?) in our characters’ midst… it could have been something that would have really set the “creepy” right, but instead of milking on these factors and taking advantage of them, we get a shit ton of squeamish, bloody scenes instead. And I’m telling you, it doesn’t hold back. It may appeal to those who like seeing fake mutilated bodies and innards, but for those like me who want more effort given to the atmosphere and plot, you may find yourself a wee disappointed.
Sure, the first few scenes were interesting. At the beginning, we have this mother/daughter duo sleeping. The mom gets up and goes to another room by the window, then boom, something grabs her from behind and whisks her outside in a blink of an eye. The daughter wakes up shortly after, looks for her, opens the door, and screams at something… or could it be someone?
Well, we’ll never know, because it blackens right after that and the next scene we have a woman praying and a spider crawling up her finger. This scene is once again short-lived as it blackens after a minute or two, and fades into a scene where the Brad Pitt look-alike starts showing off his mad shooting skillz. He then gets approached by a certain Vanessa Ives who seeks his expertise. I’ve got to praise the actress (Eva Green) for her fine acting, because she sure makes gothic look sexy. Plus, her eyes are gorgeous.
In any case, the rest of the episode after that were pretty muddled to me. There really isn’t much plot yet, as it decided to indulge itself in bloody scenery while setting up the “Victorian London” vibe. Our characters get to kill some vampire-like beings (red eyes, sharp razor-like teeth, gray skin), rip open some vampire skin only to find Egyptian writing embedded in the blackened flesh, all a part of their search for the daughter of a guy named Murray. It didn’t help that the accent was a little insufferable to me. I had to squint my eyes and lean closer to even understand a fraction of what they were saying. Fortunately, I was able to get the gist of the most important (maybe?) conversation of the episode – the one between Murray and Victor Frankenstein. The latter was talking about while other scientists were busy trying to discover trivial knowledge, he was busy chasing the “truth”, which was the thin line that separates life from death. Pretty philosophical subject, if you ask me.
But despite my rather lukewarm indifference to the majority of the episode, I found myself liking the ending. At first, I was somehow skeptical about it. Here’s our rather bizarre character who has a fasincation with the dead, readying the vampire-like corpse for something, when suddenly the lights go out and everything goes dim. He lightens a lantern, turns around, only to find that the vampire corpse was gone. I know the goal was to make the viewers afraid, as it was meant for viewers to go, “oh crap! where did the corpse go?!” which usually leads to high tension in the air, but I actually laughed at it because I found it so cliché. In any case, the scene that transpired after that – of which the corpse was suddenly brought to life – was kind of touching. You can really see how moved Victor Frankenstein was, because HELLO! What he has been searching for is right there before his very eyes. Commence silent crying.
I feel you dude, I truly do.
… it was an okay pilot for me. Obviously, I’m not the target audience, and I felt greatly uncomfortable in some scenes. There were too much blood and mutilated bodies for my tastes, but I guess it works for the “Victorian London” feel, although I wish there was more “creepy” than the “startling” and “disgusting”. Will I watch the next episode? I will, but I will be wary, and if it doesn’t work for me, I may discontinue watching.
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