I've been watching so much television lately that I am bound to understand all Family Guy references soon. But TV's been kicking ass lately. I've never been excited for so many shows and will lament the day when many get canceled. To try to prevent this onslaught, I'm reviewing again, and hopefully we will reach a time and place where no television show is canceled, of course I'm quoting John Lennon's "Imagine."
The River is a legitimate horror episodic series, where a family followed by a documentary crew searches for the family's lost father, despite dealing with supernatural elements in the amazon. (Not a huge fans of summaries because they break down the show into such simple terms that it kills the story and makes it seem childish.)
Within the first episode, The River had me hooked by rolling out one of my favorite techniques in horror films, where the monster is described in a foreign language to increase the terror because nothing is scarier than not understanding Spanish, especially when they are explaining something that wants your blood (sangre). Even with my favorite trope employed, the show did lack my favorite moment of cultural misunderstanding from the highly underrated Devil, from the mind of M. Night Shymalan (And... I've lost your respect, but watch the video first: Link.
A horror movie works on the basis of the slow burn, a slow building tension that eventually needs a release (doubles as a sex joke, but holds true). The release never equals the terror involved in the build. However, in The River, commercials allow us a release that isn’t part of the show’s world. Cutting from a monster right behind a character to an Abreva commercial sometimes ruins the effect, despite the fact that Herpes scares the shit out of people. The River also contends with having to rebuild that lost tension when it returns from commercial break. Some shows would try to immediate return to the high point, but The River continues with the slow burn and should be commended for it.
The Hollywood Defender