Spoiler-Free Review of “Monsterland” on Hulu: The Darkest Parts of Humanity

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

Monsterland is a new horror anthology television series on Hulu. It stars Kaitlyn Dever, Taylor Schilling, Nicole Beharie, and Mike Colter. The series premiered on October 2nd 2020 with eight episodes (approximately 55 minutes in length).

Based upon the short story collection, North American Lake Monsters, Monsterland reveals some deep and dark truths lurking beneath the surface. While supernatural and horror elements do play a part, the real horror lies within humanity.

Here is the trailer:

Horror anthology series are surfacing left and right and with Halloween right around the corner, you are probably in search of some good solid scares. However, Monsterland may be more of an unsettling emotional roller coaster ride rather than your typical horror series. Is Monsterland worthy of a watch? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Images courtesy of Hulu

Incredible performances.

Kaitlyn Dever, Taylor Schilling, and Nicole Beharie really stood out for me, but there were a lot of familiar faces in each episode and I thought that each character did a great job. Since this is anthology style, each episode focuses on a new character in a different town, but every performance held up and was probably the best part of the series for me.

A different take on horror.

One thing I did appreciate in this series was the attention to the darkness embedded within humanity. Sometimes our decisions can eat away at us and while there are some cringe-worthy moments sprinkled in to each episode, the real fear is that we are the actual monsters and have to come to terms with our past and accept the consequences of our actions.

The Cons:

Images courtesy of Hulu

The episodes are way too long.

The episodes are about 53 minutes in length each and they really drag at times. I think that this concept could have worked much better with 35 minute episodes. I understand the need to build up character development through a slow burn approach, but I found myself tuning out quite a bit.

Dark and depressing.

I went into this series hoping for some welcomed horror and I found myself really upset watching each episode. The episodes are emotionally unsettling, which isn’t necessarily a con, but it didn’t help with the slower pace. Other than episodes 1, 5, and 8 (the best episodes of the series for me), the rest of the episodes were dragged out and forgettable, but they did have some worthy performances that should be noted.

So am I in or out?

Images courtesy of Hulu

I’m about 50/50 on this one.

I appreciated the different take on horror here and I was drawn in for a few of the episodes, but I was disappointed overall and thought that the episodes were way too long. If you are looking for an anthology horror-esque show other than American Horror Story, I recommend The Haunting of Hill House (season 2 drops next week) or Hulu’s Into the Dark, which had a unique seasonal theme.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Monsterland in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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My performance of the week ending 10/5/19 on TV goes to…

Kaitlyn Dever as Marie Adler on Netflix’s Unbelievable.  So, I heard really great things about this limited series on Netflix, but it’s not something I would normally watch.  It deals with some difficult subject matter and I typically have to make sure that I am in the right state of mind to watch something like this.  That being said, I am really glad that I gave this show a chance because it was absolutely captivating and thought-provoking.  Please note major spoilers have been left out for your convenience.

The performances from the entire cast were beyond incredible, but I was mostly impressed with Kaitlyn Dever’s performance.  I could really believe her and there was something about her subtle indifference that really spoke to me, reminding me that we all handle trauma in different ways and sometimes we just need that one person fighting in our corner to bring out the spark within us that has dimmed so many times before.

It’s not always easy to believe in ourselves, but when someone else finally does, it reminds us that we do matter, helping us re-discover our own self-worth.

The show moves really quickly and I found myself addicted to binge-watching it right after the first episode.  It really draws you in and part of that is because of Dever’s portrayal of Marie.  Sometimes it’s more about the characters that don’t have that apparent strength you often see that truly resonate with you.

I actually prefer seeing characters who are broken and defeated, watching them grow and learn from their mistakes, while they try to pave their own path.  Maybe it’s the right path or maybe it isn’t, but that’s what makes these characters so real and interesting to me.

I really connected with Marie’s character and I was constantly rooting for her even when I was not sure if she was making the right call or telling the truth.  The other performances on the show are also really compelling and I really dove into the investigation as well, as you almost feel like you are along for the ride with the detectives because you want some kind of real and deserving justice for the victims.

There’s something to be truly said for a performance that can stay with you for quite some time and I really think that Dever achieved that in this role.  This role had to be incredibly difficult to play and I feel like another approach might not have struck the same chord with me.  Dever’s portrayal was so real and magnetic and she gave me chills.

I absolutely recommend this show, but please pay attention to the viewing warnings displayed because some parts are very difficult to watch.

Stay tuned for a recognized performance on TV each week!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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