Terror without so much frivolity

JC Maraddon

Like other specific genres within literary and audiovisual production, horror stories are usually considered to be pastimes, except for some cult authors and films that are the exception to the rule. This is a section that falls within the popcorn cinematography, whose products are made following strict standards used by those who are dedicated to mass-producing these pastimes to which a certain public is fanatically devoted, while not a few they prefer to pass by, either because they attribute little value to it or because they avoid what causes them fear.

However, nobody says that a terrifying narrative should leave aside the deepest aspects of the story, or that it has to build characters copied from previous masterpieces that have served as a reference for everything that came after. Chainsaw maniacs, hungry zombies, blood-hungry vampires, serial killers in search of their next prey, monsters ready to scare, spirits without peace, evil creatures out of control, possessed people in need of exorcism, goaded werewolves by the full moon… the list of motivations to be terrified is as long as it is repetitive.

Although it is usually a filler in this kind of filmography, it is not essential to have inexperienced young people who have decided to go camping in a cursed territory, so that the argument is accepted by the followers of this specialty. But it may well happen that there is a supposedly haunted house as a trigger for setbacks, in which those innocent creatures that always come in handy for the script will be involved, where they will insist on showing us how their good intentions collide with a sinister destiny that they will have to face. drawing from themselves a courage that they themselves were not too sure they possessed.

This is the vein that “The Watcher” explores, the seven-episode series produced for Netflix by the prolific Ryan Murphy, an expert in these matters (and in others, such as musicals). Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale play the Brannocks, obsessed with acquiring and living in a mansion that far exceeds their financial means. A young son and a teenage daughter will suffer as privileged witnesses the ravings of their parents in an almost supernatural situation that ends up turning the desire to enjoy a dream home into a nightmare, in a neighborhood where strangers abound.

While applying pre-established formulas that those who frequent this dark category know by heart, Murphy does not hesitate to delve into problems that go far beyond tricks to frighten viewers. The sleaze of the real estate market (causing the last great American economic crisis), the excessive ambition of an aspirational middle class, the fragility of a marriage subjected to excessive tension and the difficulties of raising parents anchored in anachronistic models, are some of the items that appear in “The Watcher” as the plot progresses towards the resolution of the mystery.

It can only be inscribed in the must that, perhaps in an effort to present the complete picture with all these particularities, “The Watcher” sometimes sins by entangling the narrative axis in its twists and turns, distracting us too much without suspense or suspense scenes appearing. creepy situations. In any case, Ryan Murphy’s effort to continue finding new twists to a format that we seem to know everything about and that is usually judged as frivolous, a qualification that does not fit this strip based on real events, is remarkable. where social issues of current stinging are listened to.

Terror without so much frivolity – Diario Alfil