HORROR TV YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: SWAMP THING season 1 (2019)

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SWAMP THING season 1 (2019)

(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Swamp Thing was sadly canceled after it’s first episode aired and before it was even given a chance…and it’s a shame. The ten episode first season nailed so many aspects of the comics and also managed to be one of the better horror shows currently on TV. Was that the problem? Was it too edgy? Right now there are few answers to the questions of why a great first season was also it’s last.

The story takes place in Marais, Louisiana, where an outbreak of some strange illness has occurred. CDC doctor Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed) arrives on the scene to try to find some answers and a cure. She meets eccentric scientist Alec Holland (Andy Bean) who tells her the answer is in the swamps. There they find that someone has been dumping a chemical growth accelerator in the swamp that has had a bizarre effect on the plant life. Alec is murdered in the swamp one night for what he knows and his body is regenerated by the plants into a massive human/plant hybrid..The Swamp Thing (Derek Mears)! Now Holland must not only come to terms with what he’s become, but protect Abby from those who would harm her and protect himself for those who find him a curious object of study.

Written and directed by a number of talents (see list below) Swamp Thing is a fun, atmospheric and delightfully gory show, that takes itself seriously despite it’s comic book roots. The show uses the North Carolina locations very well and the production and set design is perfectly spooky and fitting of the overall tone. There is a lot of action and intrigue as Abby and Holland uncover a conspiracy led by local businessman Avery Sunderland (Will Patton), his chief scientist Jason Woodrue (Kevin Durand) and crooked sheriff Lucilia Cable (Jennifer Beals), who are trying to exploit the swamp for profit. This puts Abby in danger and makes Holland/Swamp Thing a hunted man/thing. The episodes are each slightly under an hour and with the variety of directors and writers, the show maintains a consistent look and tone. The FX are good, especially the prosthetics and the CGI ranges from good to passable with some weak spots here and there. This show had a lot of potential and whatever the reasons for it’s canceling, unfortunately there will be some loose ends that will never get tightened unless, somehow, there is a continuation either by revival or a feature film. Sad, this show had a lot of potential and a strong first season start that was thrilling and enjoyable for comic and horror fans especially.

The cast really click here. Crystal Reed makes a solid heroine in the determined and resilient Abby Arcane. The actress presents a strong, intelligent and caring young woman that makes her very likable and endearing. Andy Dean is good as Holland, thought we only see him in the first episode and a few other spots. He builds a likable character in limited time. Derek Mears shines as the plant hero. He does a very good job giving Swamp Thing some complex emotions as he tries to figure out who and what he has become. He can be fierce and dangerous and yet kind, gentle and very sympathetic. Too bad we can’t see where he could take the character. Mears and Reed also had some nice on-screen chemistry, too. Patton makes a nice villain as the scheming and greedy Avery Sunderland, He’s a man that will kill for what he wants and does. Kevin Durand’s Woodrue is a scientist blinded and made cruel by his work. The post credits scene at the end of the last episode signals a side of him we would liked to have seen more of. The rest of the supporting cast, including Jennifer Beals and Ian Ziering, all play their parts well, A very solid cast for a really well done production.

In conclusion, This is a sad example of studio chaos ending a good show before it had a chance. This had some great atmosphere, a cool horror movie tone, yet didn’t ignore it’s comic book roots. There was some great production design, some spooky visuals and settings and a healthy amount of blood, gore and creatures. One of DC’s best representations of their properties as of late and it’s canceling is as mysterious as it’s swamp setting!

-MonsterZero NJ

Photo Credit: Fred Norris / 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

EPISODE LIST

  1. Pilot – directed by Len Wiseman and written by Gary Dauberman and Mark Verheiden
  2. Worlds Apart – directed by Len Wiseman and written by Mark Verheiden and Doris Egan
  3. He Speaks – directed by Deran Sarafian and written by Rob Fresco
  4. Darkness on the Edge of Town – directed by Carol Banker and written by Erin Maher and Kay Reindl
  5. Drive All Night – directed by Greg Beeman and written by Franklin Rho
  6. The Price You Pay – directed by Toa Fraser and written by Tania Lotia
  7. Brilliant Disguise – directed by Alexis Ostrander and written by Andrew Preston and Rob Fresco
  8. Long Walk Home – directed by E. L. Katz and written by Doris Egan
  9. The Anatomy Lesson – directed by Michael Goi and written by Mark Verheiden, Noah Griffith and Daniel Stewart
  10. Loose Ends – directed by Deran Sarafian and written by Erin Maher, Kay Reindl and Rob Fresco

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-MonsterZero NJ

3 and 1/2 (out of 4 ) swamp things.

 

 

 

 

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REVIEW: UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING (2012)

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UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING (2012)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

As a fan of the Underworld series I was both eager and apprehensive about this 4th installment, but as the credits rolled I had a smile on my face and had a good time. For starters, Kate Beckinsale is back in black latex returning as Death Dealer Selene. The story opens as man has discovered both Lycan and vampire and Selene has been separated from Michael, captured and cryogenically frozen as the war to cleanse the world of these supernatural species is underway. When released 12 years later, Selene finds a police state where Lycan and vampire are all but extinct and she has a 12 year old daughter (India Eisley) who’s unique nature makes her central to a sinister experiment. To save her daughter and her people, Selene finds herself with unexpected enemies and allies and that’s just fine with her.

Flick is directed this time by the duo of Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein from a script written by four people, including original series director Len Wiseman. At barely 90 minutes Underworld: Awakening is all about the action and there is plenty of it. It slows down to give us some story here and there and is surprisingly good at utilizing the time to move it along without stoping the momentum and the film does move quite fast. Selene is thrust into doing what she does best quite regularly and it is fairly well staged and gruesome at times. The only real weakness here is the CGI which was never very strong in this series. Otherwise it’s a brisk, fast paced fun time which won’t convert any new fans, but should please those there are.

Beckinsale is once again sexy and lethal returning as Selene. We do wish we got to know some of the new character’s a bit better such as Charles Dance’s vampire elder, filling the void of Bill Nighy’s Victor and Steven Rea’s bad guy scientist with a secret, is a fairly generic villain. Theo James is handsome and noble as David and Michael Ealy is fine as a human cop who may possible be being set-up as a human love interest for Selene. Too early to tell. Rounding out is India Eisley who is impressive as the young hybrid daughter that is a chip off the old block.

There are enough gun fights, explosions, spurting blood and shots of Kate Beckinsale’s perfectly shaped black latex wrapped bottom to keep everyone well entertained till the final scene, which hints that the sexy and lethal vampiress may not be hanging up her guns, or fetish gear, quite yet. And that’s fine with me.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 fangs.

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