Shudder’s Deadhouse Dark

I love a great horror anthology, and while Shudder’s new original Deadhouse Dark may not be a great one it’s certainly a good one and definitely worth checking out, if it doesn’t become your thing then hey, at least the six modest episodes all clock in at under fifteen minutes for you rambunctious kids in the aisle. There’s something so delicious about the concept of anthology: each chapter is a new story, a new setting and a new narrative to devour, you get to check in with previous ones if there’s connective tissue or thematic resonance that bridges them and it all feels very… ‘fun’, in the best possible way. This is an Australian produced series and the stories vary greatly, from two sisters having a bloody encounter on the way home from a Halloween tailgate party all captured on their dash-cam to an elderly gentleman contending with a fearsome rodent problem in his home to a teenage athlete going that extra dangerous mile to win to an underground bunker with a horrific being lurking inside to a terminally ill hoarder with more than just stockpiled junk hiding in her house. They’re somewhat connected by a mysterious woman in an opulently decorated, Kubrickian mansion who receives strange boxes from the dark-web, each with a clue to a story we’ve seen unfold. I would have liked more cohesion and development in this segment because I wasn’t clear just how her presence or actions were the lynchpin of all these happenings, even though it felt like the show was assuredly trying to convince me of the fact. But how? And why? Ambiguity is welcome but I felt the need to know more, or to absorb what was there with more clarity, but it’s a relatively small quibble. The show has some fantastically creepy moments that range from jump scares to terrific suspense to leering monsters both seen and unseen to well orchestrated moments of encroaching dread. It’s well worth a look, the entire miniseries only takes up about an hour and a half of your time and can be binged swiftly on the greatest streaming app currently serving the population, Shudder.

-Nate Hill