The logline for the ultimate Amazon original the series reads similar to HBO Lovecraft country. They both focus on a family trying to navigate unwelcoming blanks in the 1950s, and both lean heavily on the genre narrative. Of TheyIn the first two episodes that premiered on SXSW, it’s clear that the inaugural season eschews horror fantasy in favor of intense psychological horror that aims to induce visceral dread without any respite. Whether he can sustain that throughout all ten episodes remains to be seen, but so far, They it has a solid beginning that thrives on unrelenting terror.
They to the Emory family, an unwanted plague on Palmer Drive in Compton, California, in 1953. Before even arriving in sunny California to start over, this family begets so deeply refers to the viewer thanks to a heartbreaking and haunting prologue. In the south. Full details should be revealed much later in the season, when the audience has been mentally prepared. This alarming event cuts to former teacher Lucky (Deborah Ayorinde) waking up in the car from a nightmare, with her husband Henry (Ashley thomas) at the wheel, and his two daughters, Ruby (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Gracie (Melody hurd), in the back seat. His arrival is met with hostilities from his neighbors, led by the manipulative housewife Betty Wendell (Alison’s Pill). For the Emory family, danger comes from everywhere, inside and outside the home.
The series makes it clear from the start that what will happen during this season happens in a short period of 10 days and you don’t waste a second diving directly into a pressure cooker without a release valve. Created by Little marvin, They adds a new and heartbreaking context to the familiar dark scene of the suburbs in horror. The relentless tactics to goad the Emory family out of their new home would be enough to undermine anyone’s sanity. But Lucky and Henry endured significant trauma before, thanks to the harrowing details of their lives in North Carolina scattered in careful measure. Marvin blends seamlessly into suburban decay in the form of supernatural elements, too, to create an onslaught for his characters with no room to catch their breath before the next crisis hits.
The first two episodes are directed by Nelson cragg (Homeland, Breaking bad), a two-time Emmy nominated director of photography, and here he uses his skills to the fullest. It makes heavy use of split diopter shots, steep inclines, and unique point-of-view shots to achieve that juxtaposition between sunny, idyllic suburbs and their underlying evil. Cragg’s direction matches the stellar production design; the pastel hues of the bright suburban streets paint a drastically different picture of the bold and vibrantly patterned interiors of the Emory home. It’s a distinctly different world from the rural North Carolina home they left behind, and perhaps an even more strikingly different from bustling Los Angeles. All of which to say that the construction of the world is rich and lived.
Up to now, They presents an instantly charming family who desperately wants to see through what promises to be ten days filled with terror and nightmares. Heartbreak is yet to come, and so do many horrors if creepy basement scenes or a bubbling grave are any indication. In just two episodes, Ayorinde and Thomas have already displayed an impressive range, bringing incredible emotional depth to their characters. Pill’s villain Betty is also layered, but the series, thankfully, doesn’t try to humanize her.
Marvin’s series is off to an auspicious start. That this season, dubbed “Covenant,” is a standalone story as part of a planned anthology series, bodes well, as it means that there is a clear narrative focus designed for the Emory family that should close episode ten. TheyThe brilliant rhythm and mysterious construction hook you from the very first scene. If you can maintain that urge to bite your nails, you have the potential to outperform your contemporaries with terror-inducing ease.
They Releases on Amazon Prime Video on April 9, 2021.