Chilling Adventures of Sabrina “Chapter Five: Dreams in a Witch House” Review

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina most horrifying adventure yet keeps the cast tight and draws upon tried and tested horror mechanisms.

When Sabrina unleashes a Sleep Demon from her father’s puzzle box, she’s sure it’s taken care of until the evil demon infects her dreams. Meanwhile, Miss Wardell does everything she can to protect her charge.

The dream motif is a popular element in sci-fi and fantasy with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who and American Horror Story all having elements of living out their worst nightmares as part of their story. Hell, even the 90s version of Sabrina the Teenage Witch had an episode about the Sandman.

A sleep demon is an excellent way to visualise the innermost fears of each of your characters. However, it’s not particularly original, not a bad thing but I wouldn’t call it a good thing either.

In the Dreams in a Witch House episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, we’re dealing with just the Spellman family’s anxiety about the world and themselves.

Sabrina’s worried that once the human world knows everything about her, they’ll turn into a mob of angry villagers with pitchforks. Ambrose is worried about dying alone and unmourned. Aunt Hilda’s worst nightmare is being attached to Aunt Zelda and having her ruin everything. Whereas Aunt Zelda’s is about being outshined by her dowdy sister.

I’ve been itching to see more of these characters however I don’t think I saw more of them through their dreams. Except for Aunt Zelda who’s dream grief of Aunt Hilda showed a more complex side to an otherwise icy character.

Regarding things I enjoyed, this episode is exceedingly darker than the other episodes revelling in the gore. For the past four episodes, Sabrina’s been carefully balancing horror comedy and while the demon in this episode is slightly cheap looking other elements look straight out of a John Carpenter movie.

First of Sabrina gets encased in a spiked coffin, Ambrose performed his autopsy, Aunt Hilda is stitched skin to skin with Zelda and Zelda weeps next to her sister’s decaying corpse. It’s a dark episode mostly in execution rather than the story as everything to do with this monster feels relatively easy to defeat as soon as you know how.

The one story development of this episode was Miss Wardell moving through each of the dreams looking to protect Sabrina and Sabrina finally putting two and two together and working out there’s something wrong with her teacher.

This episode is filler, I don’t hate it, but it leaves me to wonder in what direction this show is going. I’m aware there’s only been one ‘part’ released of a 20 episode season, so perhaps we’re going to see a satisfying ending to these plots come episode 18, but right now I just can’t see Sabrina’s motivation’s throughout each episode.

 

 

 

 

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina “Chapter 4: Witch Academy” Review

Sabrina Spellman goes to Hogwarts… well kind of.

As part of her agreement with Father Blackwood in the previous episode, Sabrina is allowed to maintain some semblance of a normal life providing she start attending the Academy of Unseen Arts and expand on her powers and so she begins a weekend of immersion at Satanic hogwarts

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Ok so those Harry Potter kids have millions of dollars in the bank but do they have a sweater as cute as this? I don’t think so!

This episode is probably one of my favourite’s so far as it goes more into the witches’ lore in this universe and fleshes out more of the characters. At the same time Harvey, Roz and Susie may be one step closer to finding out what’s really in the mines at Greendale.

The Academy is part of Satan’s master plan to bring Sabrina into his fold whereas Sabrina views the Academy as a place she can learn how to summon and banish the proverbial King of Darkness.

However, it looks like Sabrina’s main issue at the Academy will be Prudence and her minions as they take her through a hazing ritual called the harrowing

Those Witches

Forcing Sabrina to go through the same levels of torture the ‘Greendale 13’ the thirteen members of their coven caught up in the Salem witch trials. Everything from staying up all night, being taunted by demons and made to experience the pain of hanging.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Watching a tree all night? Still more fun than Riverdale season 2

Headed up by Prudence and her magic plastics crew, Sabrina’s put through the torment and thanks to some typical teenager psychological mind tricks she has no real way of getting out it.

It’s actually one of my favourite plot points of the show, the delicate balance between magic and adolescence, also the outfits are amazing.

Screen Shot 2018-10-26 at 15.36.41

Seriously never admired someones commitment to black lipstick this much #fire

The trauma opens Sabrina up to all sorts of issues but what’s worse is the pain some other students had during their own harrowing.

Out of my mine

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

We have no concept of magic? Is he crazy or is he possessed or is he drunk?

Meanwhile back in Greendale Harvey and Roz find themselves at Susie’s farm, there’s been no real reference to Roz’s impending blindness or possible demonic possession this episode but rather Susie’s uncle and what he knows about the Greendale mines. Harvey’s been haunted by a goatman he saw down there years ago but is it the same thing and is it literally Satan?

Where are we now?

In summarising the first four episodes so far I’d say we’ve got a great series, but I don’t know if we’ve got a classic on our hands. This episode, in particular, helps usher in teen supernatural horror quite well, but I don’t know if it’s doing enough to define it.self.

I need the Whedon-esque humour to make things click as right now there’s a little bit of disconnect that would make this show go from good to great.

Slight Aside: When the Sabrina reboot was nothing but a twinkle in the CW’s eye it seemed very likely that it would crossover with the Archie comic adaptation- Riverdale given that they both exist in the same universe. Now The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a Netflix show this has become significantly less likely. However, both shows have referenced the other’s respective town more than once, Easter Egg or something more?

At the end of this episode, I’m pretty dam sure we exist in the world of the 1960s, but witches age slower than humans, so maybe they’re just waiting to establish a time jump at the end of the first season? What do you think, lemme know!

Sabrina’ Chapter Three: The Trial of Sabrina Spellman’ Review

The devil takes Sabrina to court over a broken promise, Harvey must face his fears, Roz fights the system and Hilda and Zelda begin to age rapidly.

When is a contract a contract? When you’ve had every intention of agreeing, or when you’ve signed on the dotted line? Well apparently according to the devil it’s when you’re marching to the point of agreement.

The devil sues Sabrina over breach of contract which both simultaneously feels like filler, but it’s also a nice throwback to the 90s series when Sabrina also faced a witches council.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Witches Council

The council wears Prada

Witchescouncil

New council who dis

 

The Trial of Sabrina Spellman was a great way to move the plot forward and discover new beats of different characters. But this early in the series we suspect she’s not going to become human or a fully-fledged witch, so the crux of the matter feels a little pointless.

So let’s move to the other beats of the story. We’re introduced to two new main characters Sabrina’s human lawyer, Mr Webster, who’s an expert in witch law.

One of the few people who can take on Father Blackwood, he’s also made his deal with the devil and lives with the hardships of it. Morally conflicted and a little old school he’s the perfect person to have at your side when arguing against the devil.

Some joke about mining this storyline

 

In the B story of the ‘Trial of Sabrina Spellman’ Harvey Kinkle finally gets a little more colour to his backstory. We know he loves comic books however his father is demanding he scrap all that and work down the mines. We’re then treated to a story of how Harvey saw something which may have been the devil while playing down the mines as a child understanding another element to an ultimately sweet and dopey character.

Harvey Kinkle's older brother Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

I’m either going to die or become the main human villain, sorry it’s in my character trope

The only person on his side is his older brother who I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen the last of yet who covers for his brother and defends him from their father. I know it’s a little early in the game to guess, but if I had to make bets on who died this season, I’d go for sweet and protective big Kinkle.

This whole court is out of order.

 

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Me sideyeing this storyline

 

Within the official trial of Sabrina Spellman we begin to discover more complexities about her parents and what they were like before their death including Sabrina’s father signing her name to the dark lord although at this time we don’t feel the sense of betrayal because we don’t know who he is.

However what I did enjoy about the trial was the progressive rage of Sabrina throughout the trial. I appreciate this element to her character as she’s not sitting around waiting for things to happen she’s going out and doing them.

All in all, I wouldn’t say this is the strongest episode so far, but it’s moved the plot along significantly and helped set up important events for next time. I feel like characters have settled into themselves and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has found its rhythm.

 

 

Sabrina “Chapter One: October Country” Review

The Chilling  Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch officially sprang up on Netflix this fine Halloween weekend and thanks to a fresh batch of insomnia I’m here to review it for you.

If you’re unaware, Sabrina the Teenage Witch is the story of Sabrina Spellman, a half human, half witch she must battle with the forces of good and evil inside herself to decide who she’s going to become.

Staring life of as a nemesis in the Archie comics during the 1960s, she eventually got popular enough to carry her own comic book series and then eventual 90s sitcom and TV movies.

This new television show isn’t a simple cut and dry reboot, as with many comic books there have been various adaptations over the years. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina takes its inspiration from the 2014 comic book of the same name.

In this one, we have the familiar setting of Greendale and the familiar cast of characters including Harvey as well Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda.  There’s a smattering of new characters as well including Cousin Ambrose, best friend Jaz and mean girl Prudence.

I’ve been super excited about this show since it was first rumoured to crossover with Riverdale and so far I’m pleasantly happy with the new series.

In the first episode of this new show we see Sabrina Spellman in the week leading up to her birthday and ‘dark baptism’ when she will finally become a witch, however, she still finds herself tied to her old life as a normal high schooler.

This show manages to maintain a level of fun creepy that’s thoroughly enjoyable all the way through without a big push on the story then check it out

Now let’s get into positives and negatives…

What I love

  • This show is insanely beautiful; director Lee Toland Krieger did a fantastic job of creating the ambiguous and mysterious world of Greendale. Parts are shot like a horror film, others like a dream sequence and some like a music video yet it all manages to feel cohesive, the visual element of the storytelling was gorgeous.
  • Again with show aesthetic, costume design and set design, you’re completely immersed in this world, and it’s very easy to get sucked in.
  • Furthermore, I appreciated the delicate balance of horror and comedy, the show itself isn’t afraid to delve into the macabre
  • The central conflict of Sabrina being reluctant to take up her dark baptism is a nice metaphor for girls/change/growing up.
  • A certain scene towards the end was beautifully executed.

What I want to love

  • I don’t feel like I know any of these characters yet, I’m not putting too much of an onus on the first episode, but I feel like I’ve seen a rough outline with no real complexities give me morally grey characters!
  • Would have loved to learn more about the witch stuff and how that builds up, it was briefly mentioned with Harvey, but I would have liked to know how she learnt spells and how it worked
  • I love Michelle Gomez as Ms Wardell/ Madam Satan but I think it’s criminal they wouldn’t let her use her Scottish accent. I suspect she plays a more prominent part later on in the series because having her as a henchman/side villain would be very sad
  • I’d also love to know more about the high school

Stand out moment

Magic happy dance around the house

Stand out character

Prudence played by Tati Gabrielle- pitch perfect mean girl with a gothic twist

Let’s see what the next one brings

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell’ Review

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell premiered last week and had flown under the radar, so if you haven’t watched it yet, then you need to put it in your Netflix queue.

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell is a comedy baking show centring around Christine McConnell showing you how to bake creepy cakes while in the company of her puppet pals. The show is funny, interesting and at times educational it’ll appeal to baking enthusiasts and those of us who burn toast.

Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 19.07.21.png

The show is part Martha Stewart and part the Adams Family, combining to camera tutorials with a story about your ‘odd neighbour’ at the end of the street who may or may not live with a werewolf, an Egyptian cat god and the reanimated corpse of several animals.

Christine McConnel is a prominent baker, creative and artist who first rose to prominence through social media posting her creepy cakes and unique creations to critical acclaim. Her aesthetic incorporated vintage glam with gothy camp, tapping into an audience who appreciate great art that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

I find this show very difficult to explain to an audience who hasn’t watched it, so first let’s start with the cast surrounding Christine. They’re all puppets, and they are the best. The puppets are all Muppet Show, Henson-esque style creatures and provide much of the narrative arc with the sitcom. A selection of supernatural beings snipping and making comments perfectly offset what could be a very serious baking show because seriously they are so impressive.

Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 19.07.48

I love this cat

Through every episode of Christine McConnel’s Curious Creations, there’s an underlying storyline whether it’s meeting the new neighbour, feeling left out or whether or not there might be a serial killer afoot everything is played incredibly well.

My main complaint of this show would be the lack of detail when it comes to the creations, they’re fairly complicated, and I would have enjoyed seeing more of the mechanics of each creation. Of course, some of them are borderline ridiculous for the average person, and I would have loved to have one ‘idiot proof’ tutorial an episode such as the toffee spiders.

I also enjoy the pacing of this show, I would compare the spirit of the show to something

like Great British Bakeoff, but with monsters, it’s very calming, and a lot of the humour is exceptionally dry and impactful.

Christine McConnel herself is an interesting person to watch, you can very clearly see her enthusiasm, and I’m not sure if she comes from an acting background but she carries herself with grace and elegance with every tutorial and in the humour bits as well- again very wry and sarcastic, it’s not something I would have suspected from this show within the first ten minutes of the pilot. A lot of the creations points feel like you’re watching an artist at work and it’s divine to watch.

If you appreciate good art and creations and want something Halloweeny to watch this month, then I recommend watching The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell.

Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 19.11.25.png

 

 

 

Class Was Not The YA Doctor Who Spin-Off We Needed

As the BBC 3 Doctor Who spin-off “Class” made it’s way to Netflix I couldn’t help but think about the Doctor Who spin-off that should have happened.

Class itself was perfectly fine, a series surrounding the sixth form students at Coal Hill sixth form college and their fight against the Shadow Kin, a group of aliens that want to get to the prince hiding out at the school. However it was doctor who adjacent rather than part of the universe in the same way Sarah Jane and Torchwood were a part of Doctor Who’s world before and after that their respective spin-offs. In my opinion that’s why it didn’t work, Class could have retained a lot of the same characters and storylines if it was about a haunted boarding school or magic academy instead of aliens.

Young Adult feels like a natural step for the Doctor Who franchise however as it’s most fervent fans occupy the 13-18 demographic the show itself had to honour them and their love of the show. For me, this left a natural successor…

 

Between 2007-2011 a program called ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ featuring the iconic Doctor Who companion Sarah Jane Smith as played by Elisabeth Sladen. Accompanying Sarah Jane Smith was her young neighbours,  Rani, Luke and Clyde, oh and K9

The Sarah Jane Adventures bridged together the two worlds of ‘old’ doctor who and new doctor who. Reappearing in David Tennant’s stint in ‘School Reunion’ even watching it as a child it was easy to recognise this was a woman of great importance to the series, she was effortlessly weaved into the tapestry of the new show.

The show itself was suited for its young audience with the younger characters being integral to every 30-minute episode of the five season show. Sarah Jane, the journalist sniffing out alien activity from her London home while presenting a normal face to her neighbours was an ultimately fantastic show

The young character dynamic resembled the Harry Potter trio of the chosen one, the goofy best friend and the smart girl and the show itself regularly integrated itself into the Doctor Who plot.

Of course, The Sarah Jane Adventures ended with the death of Elisabeth Sladen, her death was a great loss to us all but the legacy she left behind, especially in the doctor who community was truly amazing.

Yet in the world of the show, there were three young characters left adrift with knowledge of aliens and no anchor, these felt like the characters we should have witnessed at sixth form or possibly university. As a show that managed to retain an audience through a sixty year time period, it wouldn’t have been too hard to introduce a new audience to these kids.

 

 

 

 

Derren Brown ‘The Push’ Review

Derren Brown’s latest offering went straight to Netflix this time and three days after watching it I’m still thinking about it.

The Push is a psychlogical experiment conducted by Derren Brown which sees a subject manipulated into pushing a man off a building.

The concept sounds ridiculous when it’s first presented but as the show goes on we see just how easy it is to get people to do what their told.

Stripping it back to the casting of the unwitting subjects we first see how simple it is to get someone to do something with a cafe worker taking away a baby because a voice on the end of the phone tells him to. Then in the casting day we see the main contestant Chris compiles with a group of people standing up and sitting down without any reason. It’s a simple test but shows he will do things without questioning.

A highly eleborate situation is set up where Chris will be lead into a place where he’ll be asked to push a man off the building. The not so subtle leading includes a charity night for a charity called ‘Push’ which had the tagline ‘Whatever it takes.’ The stakes are high and Chris is forced to go along with covering up the death of a man and impersonating him.

Social experiments like this can sometimes feel very paint by numbers as the subjects seem unusually compliant and you’re left wondering if this would really happen to any normal person. However here with Chris we watch him slowly reclaim his independence even after he’s gone about hiding a dead body he refuses to take the ultimate plunge.

Push is ultimately fascinating in the same way serial killer documentries are. As we discover what ‘pushes’ a person to kill, here we see people deemed relatively normal put in a situation where they a forced to kill except Chris chooses not to. It truly is riveting.

And then we see three other subjects, shown early during the casting day scene actually push a man off a roof in the belief that could actually murder him. This shocking twists leaves us reeling and then there’s nothing else. Three out of the four people commit the murder, even Chris was close to it at the end, a seemingly ridiculous premise suddenly looks veey real.

Although everything is stripped away and we see Chris discover that his ordeal was simply for entertainment purposes, the knowledge he went along with impersonation, hiding a dead body and forgery. There are no indepth interviews with Chris or the other contestants that went onto to kill the man, no insights into their psyche.

So this means that Derren Brown’s Push is an interesting, shocking and enjoyable show it’s designed to prove a theory abut social compliance entirely instead of looking into any common factors between the four contestants. Because without looking too deeply into them it makes the audience wonder, if these people can commit murder then you can as well .

18 Things About The New Netflix Sabrina Reboot

So I may have missed the boat talking about the new Sabrina the Teenage Witch reboot when everyone cared about but my excitement is still there and whether you’re discovering that there is a Sabrina reboot through this post or you’re just bored and hoping to point out something I got wrong

Hi

So after trawling the internet here are 18 things we currently know about the Sabrina reboot

  1. Sabrina will be based on the comic books not the TV series. Fans will be more likely to remember Sabrina the Teenage Witch from the TV series starring Melissa Joan Hart in the 90s however this version of Sabrina will be based on the darker and twister Sabrina published in 2014 called ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’
  2. It will be a Riverdale spinoff: Although we don’t know exactly what that means at this point, we know that Sabrina will exist in the same universe as the Riverdale most likely taking place in Greendale which has been shown/referenced to before
  3. It’s going to be on Netflix instead of the CW. Netflix and CW do have a contract so a smarter person than I could unpack that for you but this potentially means more blood and violence (yay) and less actors cast because of their unbelievably stunning good looks.
  4. The show itself is said to be in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist
  5. It was rumoured that Sabrina was going to show up in the first season of Riverdale walking into Pops, this was back when Chloe Grace Moretz was rumoured to be in the role
  6. A leaked casting list showed Charlie Torr, Ariel Kaplan and  Adelina Hudson in the running
  7. A quote from the show added to the imdb also says “I… wanted you to see where I was born, Harvey. Not in Greendale General, like it says on my birth certificate. Here. In this grove of trees. Almost sixteen years ago… And, uhm, where I’ll be reborn this Saturday night. On my birthday. At the stroke of midnight. In the middle of a – a penumbral lunar eclipse. The kind that only happens once every sixty-six years… That’s why I can’t go to Rosalind’s Halloween party this weekend. Keirnan Shipka (Mad Men) will be playing the title character of Sabrina Spellman, described as a relatively ordinary girl who knows she’s a witch but is sort of not super on board about the whole being evil side of it “
  8. Miranda Otto (Lord Of The Rings) will play Aunt Zelda who is described as pragmatic and she was played by Beth Brodrick in the 90s sitcom version
  9. Lucy Davis (The Office UK) will play Aunt Hilda who is described as ‘forbearing’ and was played by Caroline Rhea in the 90s version
  10. The showrunner will be Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa who has previously worked on Riverdale, Supergirl and Glee
  11. It’s rumoured to be getting a Halloween release date
  12. The first episode is called ‘Chapter One: October Country’
  13. The first season will have twenty episodes in total
  14. Chance Perdomo (Midsomer Murders) will be on the roster as Ambrose Spellman, Sabrina’s cousin who is unable to leave the Spellman house due to breaking the rules. From a bit of digging Chance seems like a British actor and this will be his first major role stateside.
  15. Michelle Gomez (Doctor Who) marks the fourth Brit on the cast list, she will be playing Mary Wardell, a favourite teacher of Sabrina’s who becomes possessed by the devil
  16. Texas actress Jaz Sinclair (Easy, Paper Towns) joins the cast as Rosalind Walker, Sabrina’s best friend who is the daughter of an outspoken pastor in the town
  17. Richard Coyle (The Fall) is the fifth Brit and will be playing Father Blackwood, theHigh Priest of the Church of Night and Dean of the Academy of the Unseen Arts
  18. Harvey Kinkle has not been cast but his role is very important to the series

Netflix ‘Death Note’ Review

Overview-

A troubled boy named Light Turner stumbles upon an ancient notebook that bestows him with the ability to kill anyone he writes in the book.

★★ ☆☆☆

In a sentence….

Deathnote US appeals to anyone that has never seen the original anime and manages to ignore plot holes it reveals in…

Good points

  • With its use of colour, imagery and the occasional throwback to the original anime, the film itself is well shot and dynamic in it’s framing
  • Lakeith Stanfield is a fantastic co-lead as enigmatic detective L, he has the mannerism and cadence down that felt familiar almost instantly. His energy was a welcome addition.
  • Ryuk was fantastically portrayed by William Defoe, creepy and subtly played in a film that tried heavily to stay in the real world

Bad points

  • The tragic misunderstanding of Light Turner was the downfall of this movie. The dichotomy between  Kira the serial killer and Light the pretty boy/academic student was more of a shock than the pink-eyed Nat Wolf serial killer style that happened in this movie.
  • This was a looong move, even at 1:40, it dragged unbearably for the first half an hour. Things weren’t explained or stated explicitly, the rules of the Death Note felt annoying
  • Fridging of Mrs Turner and sister Turner said a lot about the attitude of this story
  • And/all backstory felt weird and clunky, an add-on that felt rushed after the fact
  • Mia Sutton was a dividing figure, interestingly played with her persona being more on the edge than in the anime, her initial introduction and lack of backstory

Overview-

Sexist and one dimensional, there could have been an interesting interpretation of  Light’s justice in modern-day America but still felt like the fantasy of a certain demographic

Jessica Jones: Kilgrave return?

The notorious Kilgrave maybe returning for season two of Jessica Jones as David Tennant  was recently photographed on set of the Netflix Superhero series for Entertainment Weekly

DHM2_vuXoAArgCA

Jessica Jones will make her next Marvel appearance in The Defenders, the superhero team-up coming to Netflix on the 18th August.

Little is known about this sudden return, due to the fact he went out with a crack at the end of season one. It could possibly be Tennant is returning as Kilgrave’s dead body due to both being in very similar clothing to season one finale or a zombie coming back to haunt Jessica’s nightmares, either way it looks like we’re not done with the purple man!