Spoiler-Free Review of “Castle Rock” Season 2 on Hulu: Lizzy Caplan as Annie Wilkes gets this Slow-Burning Horror off to a Chilling Start

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

Just in time for Halloween, Hulu has released the first three episodes of Castle Rock season 2.  I loved season 1 so much and it featured some of the most brilliant episodes on television that I have ever witnessed.

Seriously, if you haven’t seen season 1, episode 7 (The Queen) yet, I highly recommend it.  So that being said, Castle Rock season 2 has a lot to live up to, but I am excited that they are taking the anthology approach, as we get a new story with different characters.

Castle Rock is a psychological horror series on Hulu based on the characters and setting of Stephen King.  There will be 10 episodes for season 2.  Similar to the format with season 1, Hulu has released the first 3 episodes as of October 23rd 2019 and it will continue to run weekly episodes on Wednesdays.  Season 2 stars Lizzy Caplan, Tim Robbins, and Elsie Fisher.  

Season 2 follows a nurse named Annie Wilkes, based on the character of the same name in Misery.  While Castle Rock is not necessarily a prequel, it does bring us familiar elements from both Misery and Salem’s Lot

Annie has a lot of psychological issues and she is on the run with her teenage daughter when she arrives in Castle Rock.  Annie mostly keeps to herself, but when she goes through withdrawal from her medication, her hallucinations start to become all too real, as she finds herself doing some very bad things. 

The plot and characters certainly have a lot of potential, but will season 2 be able to hold its own?  Let’s find out!

The Pros:

Castle Rock season 2 1
Images courtesy of Hulu

Lizzy Caplan is beyond captivating as Annie Wilkes.  

Her performance will chill you to your core, disturbing you in just the right way.  Caplan absolutely nails the role and is the best part of the show so far.  She immerses herself completely in this role, bringing you wild eye stares and horrifying reactions that are so real and terrifying.

The perfect dose of psychological horror.

I love that this show brings you along for the ride, unfolding the mystery with its audience.  While a lot of the scares are psychological, there are some edge of your seat moments that remind us just how deadly an unhinged paranoid person can be.

I think it also works to the show’s advantage not following a specific plot from Stephen King, allowing familiar characters and settings to take on a life of their own, which makes this show unique and original.

The Cons:

Castle Rock season 2 2
Images courtesy of Hulu

A lot of setup.

There are a lot of elements to digest after watching the first three episodes of season 2.  You may find yourself slightly overwhelmed by this, but I had the same issue with season 1 and it ended up paying off, as other elements were revealed later on.

Slow moving at times.

Each episode is about 50-55 minutes in length and the show does move at a slow pace from time to time.  The show is more of a slow-burning psychological horror, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make it difficult to binge-watch all at once.  You may want to try one episode at a time, but I thought that there were enough things going on to keep your attention.

So am I in or out? 

Castle Rock season 2 3
Images courtesy of Hulu

I am in 100 percent!  Lizzy Caplan’s performance is enough to keep me invested, but I love the intertwining between the two works from Stephen King, while creating a new story that branches off into something completely different. 

After watching the first three episodes, I am excited to continue watching weekly and I think this will actually make the watch that much more entertaining, as bits and pieces of the mystery are presented.  If you haven’t started watching yet, I highly recommend it, especially if you are a Stephen King fan.

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

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Spoiler-Free Review of “Two Sentence Horror Stories” on The CW: An Eerie Delight

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

Sometimes less is more and Two Sentence Horror Stories delivers with its short episodes, bringing us just the right amount of unnerving moments for these compelling female protagonists.  Real life horror lurks in the shadows, seeping into our doubts, which creates a unique take on psychological horror, while touching on social concerns seamlessly.  If you are looking for some chilling fun with some terrifying twists, you are in the right place!

Two Sentence Horror Stories is a horror anthology series based on the popular fan-fiction that emerged on Reddit.  Each episode is about 30 minutes in length and follows a different creepy story, somewhat similar to the approach of Hulu’s Into the Dark and The Twilight Zone reboot on CBS All Access. 

The series will feature 8 episodes for season 1 and the first 2 episodes premiered on The CW on August 8th 2019.  While I have been underwhelmed by some of the other horror anthology series currently airing, Two Sentence Horror Stories genuinely surprised me and captured my undivided attention, but will the rest of the episodes be able to measure up?  I’m hoping so!

The Pros:

Two sentence 6
Images courtesy of The CW

Genuinely satisfying twists.

I don’t know about you, but I love playing Nancy Drew when it comes to figuring out any type of mystery and I have to say that both episodes kept me guessing.  The reveals were shocking and unsettling.

Strong female protagonists.

These interesting female characters will immediately draw you in.  I absolutely love that the majority of the episodes will feature women of color and I really thought that the performances were believable and spot on.  There are so many real life dangers that women have to face and this series has successfully brought some of these social concerns to light without hitting you over the head with them like some other series.

The episodes are the perfect length and really pay tribute to where Two Sentence Horror Stories originated.

I mean, it would probably be silly to have a series based on horror stories consisting of two sentences airing for an hour, but is 30 minutes enough time to truly make an impact?  Yes!  While I have been previously bored by some other horror anthology series, I really appreciated the short length of the episodes of Two Sentence Horror Stories.  The creepy background music and the simplicity of it all just works somehow and it doesn’t drag anything out.

I also love that each episode starts off with the first sentence of the horror story and then once the twist is revealed, it ends with the second sentence, really reminding you what this show is based on and proving that something genuinely terrifying and unique doesn’t have to be long and drawn out.

The Cons:

Two sentence 7
Images courtesy of The CW

Maybe not the type of horror you are expecting.

I honestly really can’t come up with a con for this series yet, as both episode 1 (Gentleman) and episode 2 (Squirm) deliver.  The only thing I would say is if you are expecting something supernatural or a slasher gory massacre, this is not for you.  It has more of a dark psychological vibe, but the real life terror works just as effectively in my opinion.  We’ll have to see if the remaining 6 episodes can hold up to the first 2, but I have high expectations now.

So am I in or out? 

Squirm
Images courtesy of The CW

I am in 100 percent!  I have to admit that I didn’t really expect much going into this series.  The CW added it to the summer line-up, which made me hesitate slightly, but I am so glad that I gave this series a chance because it is unique, smart, and scary!  I can’t wait to watch the next episodes and I definitely recommend it!

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

The Dreaming of Wonderland Book Series is available here!

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Free Instant Preview of The Search for Alice is available here!

**If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.  Thanks for your support!

Do you love horror series?  Of course you do!  Please also check out 12 Nights of Horror Series Coming Soon.  It’s your home for everything you need to know about new and returning horror television series including new trailers, premiere dates, reviews, recaps, and renewals! 

 

 

 

5 Reasons why you should watch “Castle Rock” on Hulu: “It wasn’t me…it was this place.”

“It wasn’t me…it was this place.”  If you are a devoted television fan like me, then I’m sure you have heard of the Hulu show Castle Rock, which premiered earlier this summer on July 25, 2018.  While the episodes aired each week, all episodes have now officially been added for season one so this is the perfect time to binge-watch the entire season.

The season features 10 episodes and it has been confirmed that the series has already been renewed for season 2.  To give you some background, the series can best be categorized as a psychological horror show with just the right amount of mystery mixed in.  The series is based on the settings and characters from Stephen King and the executive producer of the show is J.J.Abrams. 

The show focuses primarily on the small fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine, emerging us into a dark world filled with unexplained deaths, paranormal occurrences, and the elaborate intertwining of characters.  From the moment you watch the first few minutes of episode 1, you are completely hooked and drawn in to the masterful storytelling, which will have you on the edge of your seat at all times.

While there is quite a bit of set up, the episodes are fast paced and move the plot along seamlessly.  The acting and writing is so real and moving that you will find yourself contemplating the moments you see portrayed even after you are done watching.  This is a must watch show and I have quickly become a big fan.  Please note some spoilers are ahead, but major ones have been left out for your convenience.  My top 5 reasons to check out Castle Rock season 1 are: 

5

Stephen King & J.J. Abrams.

Stephen King is a master at creating a story that is so real and haunting that you find yourself walking along the same path as the characters you are reading about.  King is wonderful at creating vivid images that you can visualize across the page, proving that words can be just as compelling as anything we see on the big or small screen.

Sold already?  So am I.  However, let’s combine that with executive producer, J.J. Abrams, who brought us my favorite show in the world, Lost The world we see on television is so convincing and intricate, which really does King’s stories justice, giving us the chance to get to see these characters and setting come to life right before our eyes.

4

Episode 9:  “Henry Deaver.”

While every episode stands out in its own way, episode 9 did the unthinkable.  It completely blew my mind and immersed me into something so mysterious and compelling.  While I had questions the entire time I watched this episode, I refused to pause it for even a moment.  It’s that good.  I don’t want to give anything away because I want you to truly enjoy the experience for yourself, but episode 9 basically takes everything you think you know about Castle Rock and throws it out the window.

You are basically left in a whirlwind of confusion that will have you glued to the television screen, unblinking.  While it may seem that I am going overboard, this episode truly captured what it means to give the audience answers without every really answering anything concretely.  Sure it sounds confusing, but there is something so magnetic about this episode in particular that it will have you completely mesmerized.

3

The twist and mystery is not completely obvious.

Even though I love a good twist or mystery, I always find myself trying to figure it out the entire time.  Whether it is from a book, movie, or television series, I really enjoy playing Nancy Drew.  In Castle Rock, we are presented with several mysteries and you can’t help trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together.  However, I never saw the twist in this show coming.

While I came close with some theories, the show does an excellent job of keeping you in the dark for just the right amount of time, while sending clues your way to keep your interest.  If you are able to figure out what’s going on, I absolutely commend you because I was shocked and that much more intrigued once it was revealed.  Even with the twist revealed, there are still so many questions left unanswered.  I’m assuming we will get to this in season 2 so that is even more of a reason why I appreciated it so much.

2

The cast.

The acting on this show is so incredible.  The regular cast stands out on its own with amazing performances from André Holland, Melanie Lynskey, Bill Skarsgård, Jane Levy, and Sissy Spacek.  While I expected the main cast to be great, I didn’t expect for every single guest star to be unbelievably amazing as well.  In particular, the performances by Terry O’Quinn, Scott Glenn, Noel Fisher, Chosen Jacobs, and Lauren Bowles were outstanding.

Every performance is so real and believable that you really think these people are the very characters they are portraying.  You find yourself sympathizing with them and wanting to know everything about them.  Even characters that show up later in the series still spark an interest, as you find yourself trying to figure out how they come into play.  The intertwining of characters is absolutely spell-binding, bringing Stephen King’s creations to life with new vigor.

1

Episode 7:  “The Queen.”

While I would normally focus on a season finale for my top reason to watch a show, episode 7 is something so incredibly powerful and it deserves every amount of praise possible.  This episode would not have been so amazing without the talented Sissy Spacek, who gave us a performance that was so incredibly heartbreaking that you could almost feel your own heart beat out of its chest just from watching.

During the series, we learn that Sissy Spacek’s character, Ruth, suffers from dementia.  The earlier episodes allowed us to see her from the perspectives of other characters, but in episode 7, everything we see is completely from Ruth’s perspective.  Timelines shift around and we see Ruth combining the past and present, but the episode is executed so well that you don’t lose track of what is happening.  The ending moments of this episode are so heart wrenching.

This episode in particular was probably one of the most incredible episodes I have ever seen on television.  I’m ranking it up there with “The Constant” from Lost, “Salud” from Breaking Bad, and “Becoming Part II” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  If you have seen any of these episodes, then you know that I am not giving out this title lightly.  “The Queen” is out of this world and it elevated Castle Rock to an entirely new level.  Ready to watch? Stay tuned!

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

Stay up to date on upcoming premieres of horror TV series @ 12nightsofhorror.com/horror-series-coming-soon

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

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I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery, then this might be the book for you or someone you know!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I hope you enjoy!

When Kallie Bennett, a jaded teenage girl plagued by her alcoholic mother and her peers molded out of sheer bubble gum perfection, chases after Alice in Wonderland herself, she ends up lost in her own version of Wonderland, which forces her to face her utmost fears and introduces her to familiar characters with a dark twist. Among these characters is Ches, a gorgeous vampire with a conflicted conscience, who becomes Kallie’s guide and blossoming love interest. She also crosses paths with Queen Hartley, a manipulative witch who has the power to strip away one’s memories and imagination, which brings a bone chilling new meaning to “off with their heads.” In The Search for Alice, Kallie starts to realize that her Wonderland is just as frightening as her own reality and that she cannot always run away from her problems. She must figure out a way to defeat Queen Hartley and return home before it is too late, but she soon learns that escaping Wonderland means leaving Ches behind forever.

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