MONSTERLAND is a streaming horror series on Hulu. As an anthology series, each episode is a standalone story, but there are common threads through the first two episodes. They are both pretty bleak, sharing a dark tone and avoiding tying up the story into neat endings. While both episodes include ‘monsters’ (avoiding a false advertising claim on the show’s title), the episodes are more about the people interacting with them. In both Port Fourchon and Eugene (the episode titles indicate where the episode takes place), the monsters play a pretty minor part.
Eugene, OR focuses on an angry, awkward teen who helps take care of his sick mother. He is a fascinating character because while he’s clearly an outsider, the script and acting performance allows us to relate to him. He’s abrasive, but he’s also a pretty good guy. As things get worse for him, you really do feel bad.
The episode really picks up after an odd encounter with a monster leads him to a chat room. This is where the episode really innovates – rather than simply watching text bubbles show up on a computer screen, MONSTERLAND brings the characters to life in the room – in this way, a typed conversation is brought to life in an interesting way. Credit to the writers for having the dialogue line up with how a chat room interaction would go as opposed to an in person chat. Like any online interaction, it is unclear whether these ‘friends’ have his best interest at heart, which adds to the tension in the episode.
Thus far, the two episodes are entirely standalone, so you can pick whichever one you like as a starting point. While the ending of this episode was more ambiguous than Port Fourchon, I liked it better based on the complex main character and the ’in person’ chat room technique.
MONSTERLAND is a strange series. If you expect big special effects shots of monsters (which would be understandable given the title) you will be disappointed. If you are interested in psychological studies of interesting characters with a macabre feel, this show is worth watching if you have Hulu. While I am enjoying the series, it isn’t a show that would drive me to sign up for Hulu to watch it (Like Game of Thrones on HBO).
MONSTERLAND EPISODE 2 “EUGENE, OR” is now available on Hulu.
Check back soon for my thoughts on the third episode of this series.
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