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TV Review: THE RIVER 1.1 & 1.2 - Magus & Marbeley

Thursday, 9 February 2012

This was going to be the latest review of Alcatraz for you today but I was so impressed with the opening 2 hours of the River I just had to get it out first. Considering I'm not a fan of horror per Se, and that I have never seen a Paranormal Activity movie (the trailers even scare me) I was wondering just how much of the River I would be able to take. Turns out the show is incredibly scream out loud scary to the point where I'm thinking I would have to look away but, it's so gripping to, I couldn't turn it off and since Alcatraz has been so bitterly disappointing and we have to wait for Touch, ABC's The River will no doubt jump right to the top of the ratings.

The story focuses on the family of Dr Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood), an adventurer who has been missing in the Amazon for six months. The official search has been called off but his wife refuses to believe that he is dead, a thought that is helped by the fact that his tracking beacon has just been activated deep within the Amazon. The family are torn apart with son Lincoln (Joe Anderson) hardly speaking to his mother and notoriously never getting on with his father. Emmet's wife Tess (Leslie Cole) convinces her son that they should not give up the search for his father and they head off to the Amazon with a reality TV camera crew who want to capture the search for viewing pleasure, from there The River just gets creepier and creepier.

The show is filmed very much in the style of the Blair Witch Project, a movie I have never seen. I loved the way the camera worked, a move that show creator Oren Peli has been successful with in his Paranormal Activity movies. I also loved the way the show moved along at such a fast pace, you are never board. Although the first episode was more of us getting to know everyone I still found it very easy to get into and before you knew it they were in the Amazon, a journey which was going fine until they took a turn down some Uncharted waters which supposedly don't exist. It's a great mix between the drama which Lost delivered, whilst also managing to have you holding a pillow ready to hide behind in horror scenes which are as good as any movie I have seen.

There were two people in particular that I found very intriguing, people who are probably going to play a lot bigger part in the show, and rightly so as they clearly know a lot more about what may be going on than we or anyone on that boat does. Firstly the young South American girl Jahel (Paulina Gaitan), the daugher of the ships mechanic who also happens to be good at fixing boat engines herself. Jahel doesn't speak English although she does seem to understand it, the show uses subtitle's to keep us informed but don't worry that does not let up on suspense. From the moment they decided to turn onto unchartered waters Jahel said not to go there, when asked why the subtitle read "UNTRANSLATABLE", your thinking right off that's not good. Then you have Capt Kurt (Thomas Kretschmann), a private security guard hired by Tess to protect her and the crew, we saw him on a satellite phone to someone saying that if Emmet has discovered the source he will put him down. Again, that suggest that he knows what may be going on here, maybe Tess herself knows more than she is letting on, she did hire the guy after all.

Like I said above I'm no fan of horror movies, but the scenes here were very frightening . In particular the scene with all those dolls hanging from the tree's, it was fine until one of them turned it's head to look at Lincoln and the girl who will surely become his love interest Lena (Eloise Mumford), that whole sequence and the way it was filmed was very tense, that bit when the camera man was trying to get one of the dolls to blink and the one behind him closed it's eyes, yikes. You have to admit that's a little freaky, right?

What made me laugh a little was how much time the cast have spent in the water up to now, it's the Amazon, right? Aren't there like big ass crocodiles or alligators in there which eat people? Second to that you have Piranha fish, terrifying in numbers. And then isn't it the Amazon which has those little parasites which can swim up your manhood? I don't think I would be overly keen to get into the water, would you?

So, no I'm not a fan of horror but I do really like this show and I'm looking forward to seeing more. I would imagine that it's going to get scarier meaning that my reviews may get a little less, especially as I will be looking away from my TV most of the time, only kidding. A real good effort on all levels for me and I'll be watching the third episode "Los Ciegos" when it airs next week.
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