Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Every Haunting Hour Ever #1: Really You (Part 1)
Original Airdate: October 29, 2010
Director: Neill Fearnley
Now I know what some of you are thinking. "Where's your new movie review?!". Well, here's the thing. For every three movie reviews, I like to review something that just knocked my socks off. Since I have 5 movie reviews up at the moment, the next review would obviously include one of these movies. However, I haven't seen any movies like this recently so its a bit tough to do a movie review right now.
In the meantime, I would like to talk about something that I have a fondness for. That my friends would be none other than R.L Stine's: The Haunting Hour! What's this show about you may ask? Well it's basically a horror anthology show for kids, much like Goosebumps or Are You Afraid of The Dark? It's a show that originally aired on the Hub Network, along with Goosebumps, from 2010 to 2014. Most of the episodes in this show are based on one of R.L Stine's more obscure works called The Nightmare Hour, albeit quite loosely. If I were to briefly describe the quality of the show, I'd say that if you found Goosebumps or Are You Afraid of The Dark to be way too cheesy for your standards and want something more, The Haunting Hour is right up your alley! Not only is The Haunting Hour darker AND scarier than the other two shows I've mentioned but it also has a lot of atmosphere, good writing and characters, and the acting is vastly superior. Sadly, it doesn't get the attention it deserves as it doesn't seem to be brought up very often in conversations about kid's horror anthology shows. That's why I'm going to review every single Haunting Hour episode from the first season to the last! So with that said, let's quit stalling and check out the story of the very first episode!
Lilly (Bailee Madison) is given her very own life-sized "Really You" doll, Lilly D (performed by Jeny Cassady). Soon after, strange events begin to occur that Lilly's mother accuses Lilly of causing; Lilly maintains she is innocent, and that Lilly D is alive. Soon, Lilly's mother starts to care more about Lilly D than Lilly, even letting it "sleep" in her bed. Lilly's brother, Brandon (Conner Price), becomes determined to prove Lilly D is alive, or isn't.
As you can tell by the plot, it's your typical evil doll story. But the execution is absolutely wonderful and considering that this is the very first episode of the show, that's saying a lot.
One of the reasons why this episode is so wonderful is the acting. Almost everyone in this episode, especially Bailee Madison as the main lead, brings a lot of effort and energy into their roles. The performances are also really entertaining to watch and they really do a good job sucking the audience into the situation at hand. When everyone starts to blame the main character for Lilly D's actions, the fear and anxiety that she's going through while in this situation seems rather genuine. It never feels like the actors are reading off a script and because of that, makes the characters and the situation that they're in seem all the more believable.
Another thing that make this episode so wonderful is that they're able to work in some humor without detracting too much from the actual scare factor. You see, at some point in the episode, a comic relief character whose named Josh, is introduced. With a character in a show like this, he could've easily been cringeworthy. However, he doesn't seem to be that annoying or unlikable, as some comic relief characters tend to be. On top of that, he's actually given some really funny lines that did manage to get a chuckle or two out of me. Even when the episode is focusing on Josh, the atmosphere remains unnerving as it gets the audience to worry if Lilly D is either going to show herself or do something while the audience is paying attention to Josh.
The next thing that make this episode so wonderful is the cliffhanger. You see, it turns out that the first episode is a two parter, which is kind of odd because I don't think this sort of thing is done as a series starter too often unless it's a series with a continuing story arc. Nevertheless, it's quite good at leaving the audience wanting to find out what happens in the next episode while also wrapping up the first part. Part of what makes the cliffhanger really good is the build up, the atmosphere, and the music working all at once and then when the episode is about to end, slam into each other in an onslaught of adrenaline pumping chaos that make the audience yell "Holy Shit!" While jumping out of their seats.
Overall, Really You (Part 1) is a great start to a fantastic series. It's an episode that knows that it needs to try hard in order to get people coming back to the series and boy does it deliver! Let's just hope the next part is as good or even better than the first.
Overall grade: A