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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Spoiler-Free Review of “Evil” on CBS: Can another show about demonic possession survive?

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

Even though shows centered around demonic possession often have a lot of potential, they don’t always last that long.  Shows like Outcast and The Exorcist come to mind, which were dark, mysterious, and terrifying in a lot of ways, but yet they were canceled extremely early.  So can Evil pave the way and break the cancellation curse?  Let’s find out!

Evil is a psychological mystery drama series that premiered on CBS on September 26th 2019.  It stars Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, Aasif Mandvi, and Michael Emerson.

The show is scheduled to run weekly episodes, as it follows a non-believing psychologist named Kristen Bouchard, who accepts a second job working for a priest-in-training, David Acosta, examining potential possessions, miracles, and hauntings to determine if there is a logical explanation behind them or if they are truly witnessing something supernatural at work.

The Pros:

Evil CBS Pilot
Images courtesy of CBS

An amazing cast and interesting characters.

I absolutely love the chemistry between Kristen (Herbers) and David (Colter), who already seem to be compelling characters with many layers.  I think it works having a non-believer paired up with a believer and I expect to see a great dynamic continue between these two.

I am already a huge Michael Emerson fan (LOST, Person of Interest) and I am super excited that it looks like he will be set up as the nemesis for the series.  Emerson truly shines when he is playing the manipulative and well thought out villain and I think he can really do some damage here…in a good way!

Interesting mysteries with a premise that the audience can truly relate to.

The mysteries behind the potential supernatural occurrences are intriguing enough, but I think this show can truly stand out because it really dives into the man of science/man of faith debate, which I think is something we all look at whenever we examine something that can’t necessarily be explained at first glance.  This plot premise may be enough to allow this demonic possession to survive and it already has a lot of promising potential just from the pilot episode.

The Cons:

Evil CBS George
Images courtesy of CBS

I’m not sure if the show was trying to be funny or not?

Even though Kristen is a non-believer, she starts to encounter her own set of night terrors, but are they simply dreams or is there something evil lurking in her subconscious?  I’m not sure just yet, but some of these sequences seemed kind of silly and comical, but I’m not sure if that was the intention?  You’ll see what I mean when you get to them.

At times, the plot and backstory seemed slightly contrived.

Capturing your audience during the pilot episode is never easy for any show,  but at times, I felt like the plot and backstory were somewhat forced.  The characters are really interesting and I guess I just want to see their stories unfold naturally, but I’m only one episode in, so we will see if this improves over time.

So am I in or out? 

Evil Pilot CBS
Images courtesy of CBS

As of right now, I am slightly torn.  I think that the characters and plot are interesting enough to keep me invested for a while, but I also feel like this show can easily fall into the trap of the weekly mysteries without any compelling plot twist at its core.

I’m hoping that Michael Emerson’s role as the nemesis, Leland Townsend, can shake things up, but we shall see.  I guess I am in about 75 percent right now, but I am looking forward to watching more episodes and I think that this show has a lot of potential.

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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