#31in31 2016: Freakish (Hulu series)

freakish-season-1-poster-hulu-key-art“We all have secrets.”

Story: The Breakfast Club are trapped in school after a chemical plant explosion causes a zombie mutation. I’m sure the kids that snuck back inside after the explosion are perfectly fine.

Scares: Mostly jump scares, as you’d expect from a zombie story. But a healthy dash of suspense throughout.

Splat factor: Surprisingly little. But gory when it needs to be. Lots of intense infection FX.

Closing scene “shocker”?: Things are set up for a possible Season 2.

Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: Yeah, there are tons of zombie shows. But this? Original.

Trick or Treat?: Yeah yeah; now that Hulu has gone straight-up pay for play, not everyone has it on tap.  But I share anyway.  Why?  Because it’s a fun bit of creep.

Setting the story in a high school, lots of reminders of the humanity lost to the infection. “We Are Kent” posters. Lockers full of pictures, booze, homework, and other items of lives left behind. As for our fearful survivors? There’s the usual high school gang:

  • The basketball captain & his cheerleader girlfriend
  • The Vulcan-ish techy outsider
  • The juvie
  • The cool chick
  • The brother and sister
  • The student government chick
  • The pothead

And of course the lone gym teacher that was overseeing all the things, played by Chad Coleman (Tyreese from The Walking Dead). Don’t get attached.

The miniseries format is great for this story – 10 half-hour episodes allows viewers to care about the characters, and whether they live or die. And as the situation gets worse, each student’s secrets start to unravel. Some are innocent, and others? Not so much.

The creators do a good job of keeping viewers slightly off balance  with a twist here, a reveal there. And while teens are obligated by law to remain attached to their phones, the show has a good reason why they’re not texting the crap out of each other when they get separated. Nobody’s got a charger. Yeah, that sucks.

What also sucks?  The fact that this isn’t wholly wrapped up in the 10 episodes Hulu trotted out.  I was hoping for a miniseries, but viewers will be left hanging until a second season arrives.  IF a second season arrives.  That’s the only downside to Freakish; while its finale can be explained away in any number of ways, it’s also a bit of a letdown.  But hey, they didn’t just off the entire crew, as so many modern day horror stories love to do.  Scales balance in this show’s favor, especially as it’s so damn watchable.

If you’re looking for a Halloween theme-night, or just want to keep it easy and not have to go through the usual “Now what should we watch?” arguments?  This is a good choice.  Or, just binge it before All Hallows Eve.  I won’t tell anyone.

Score: 4 out of 5 pumpkins.

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