MONSTERLAND is an 8 episode anthology horror series airing on Hulu. Episode 1, Port Fourchon, LA is a suitably creepy introduction to the series (all of the episodes are named after a city; Episode 2 is Eugene, OR). Port Fourchon features two characters whose lives slowly start to intersect – a down on her luck single mom waitress (Kaitlyn Dever) and a serial killer (Jonathan Tucker). In the interest of avoiding spoilers, I’ll stay away from any further plot details, but suffice to say this is a bleak and dark episode.
From the opening sequence to the final scene, this show had me on edge and gritting my teeth. Port Fourchon, LA falls into the category of entertainment that somehow is enjoyable while making you feel uncomfortable (Joaquin Phoenix’s JOKER is a great example). The first forty minutes are filled with the kind of horrible situations that are much more effective than buckets of blood and ‘jump scares.’ Just when I started settling into what seemed like a straightforward tense psychological thriller, the show took an insane turn that completely changed the ballgame and turned the episode into something original.
Playing a character living in Louisiana, Dever employs a thick but believable Cajun accent. I don’t know enough about genuine Cajun accents to know if she nailed it, but she did a good enough job that I didn’t realize this is the same Kaitlyn Dever that starred in BOOKSMART (which is worth checking out, by the way). I found Dever’s performance to be particularly effective as she displays anguish, fear, and frustration without overacting. The town itself almost serves as its own character, exuding misery and grime. This bleakness is emblematic of the whole episode. From disturbing situations to the effectively foreboding music, this episode made me tense throughout.
If you are looking for a lighthearted series, the first episode of MONSTERLAND would seem to indicate this isn’t what you are seeking. But if you are interested in a psychological horror that keeps you guessing and makes you think, MONSTERLAND is worth a watch. One advantage of MONSTERLAND’s anthology approach, with each episode telling a standalone story, is that it allows you to give it a try without committing to a whole season.
MONSTERLAND Episode 1 “Port Fourchon, LA” is now available on Hulu.
Check back soon for my thoughts on the second episode of this series.
Are you going to watch the series? Have you already? Want to talk to me about it? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below!