If the bloody Blair Witch-style shot of the dead cameraman didn’t freak you out, then maybe those creepy dolls hanging from the tree did. Last night’s two-hour premiere of The River screamed with eerie scenes and rekindled a few recurring nightmares of mine. Filmed in Hawaii, the spooky new drama about the search for an explorer missing deep in the Amazon has already been compared to LOST and Paranormal Activity. But after the naked, moss-covered dolls scene, there was a frenzy of tweets comparing it to the 1990s horror film Chucky.The search is on for Dr. Emmet Cole, who disappeared in an uncharted part of the Amazon.
@808Blueskies wrote: “ #TheRiverHI Please don’t bring in “Chucky” doll!” While @Kammi05 tweeted: “Ahhhhhhhhhh! A doll said mommy. Ahhhhh! Hahaha.” The dolls did seem a little out of place in the Amazon, but the legend about how the village would leave gifts for the girl’s haunting spirit seemed to justify the bizarre discovery of the hanging dolls in the middle of a rainforest. It made me realize that I, too, might have a slight case of pediophobia, or fear of dolls! OK, maybe not. But the producers sure know how to play on the audience’s deeper, inner fears.
I wasn’t expecting to be such a girly girl when watching The River. Within the first half hour, I found myself already shouting, “I don’t want to watch this anymore! It’s too scary!” Maybe it’s because my older brothers made me watch Chucky a couple of times as a kid…eek! I’m absolutely terrified of that movie. Luckily, it was just my boyfriend and dog that had to endure my squirms and shrieks last night. But in my defense, I did catch my boyfriend covering his eyes on a few parts, hehe.
Producers call The River a “reality documentary,” which adds another aspect of fear to the show. Watching it seems almost real to the audience, like we’re sitting in on the action, and with the quick, jumpy cuts from scene to scene, the audience almost feels like they’re running through the Amazon alongside the actors. To achieve the documentary feel, the crew uses as many as 13 cameras at once, including cameras that actors film with while acting. Cool! Wonder if they’re getting paid double time?
There will only be six more episodes of The River this season, so we’ll see how it does. Last night’s premiere had a modest 7.5 million viewers watching, which some critics are saying is a “bummer” and a surprise, considering how successful ABC has been with launching new shows like the award-winning Modern Family. Hopefully The River does better than the short-lived show Off the Map, also filmed in Hawaii but was quickly canceled due to poor ratings. Normally, I’m not a hog for horror flicks, but in this case, I’ve got this haunting feeling I’ll be posted in front of the TV for another spooky hour next week Tuesday. Also expecting to see more tweets like this one: @Kammi05 wrote, “no way going to be able to sleep tonight!” My thoughts last night, EXACTLY.
Photo Credit: ABC Network
THE RIVER • ABC’s new horror drama about the search for a missing explorer in the Amazon • Tuesdays, 8pm
Posted by: Bruce Fisher on Feb 8, 2012