'Into the Dark: Culture Shock' actor Katie Wilson calls the episode a 'very scary, realistic look' at the US-Mexico border issue
Katie Wilson plays the role of Christine, a conservative journalist broadcasting the reality of US-Mexico border on the episode's Independence Day nightmare
Hulu's monthly anthology horror 'Into the Dark' became a steady hit with its satirical twist on a festival signifying each episode, unleashing a bloodbath of gore and horror that always revolved around the theme. For July, the focus was obviously Independence Day, and the episode titled 'Culture Shock' did not disappoint as it showcased the reality of today's America with its immigration policies and the harrowing ICE detention center routines.
Revolving around a pregnant Mexican woman called Marisol who is trying to illegally cross the US-Mexico border a second time, the episode not only tackles the nightmare that America has become for people trying to make their way into the coveted "American dream", but also establishes that her unborn child is a child of rape, which is impeccably timed for the recently passed Alabama abortion-ban law.
At its core, 'Culture Shock' is a psychological horror that will remind viewers of the breakthrough classic that 'Black Mirror' has emerged to be in the recent past. Marisol, played by Martha Higareda, makes a second attempt at crossing the border, amid Mexican cartels trying to intimidate illegal migrants while Americans at the border target them.
After she almost manages to escape her enemies in the scenario, sudden flashlights go off at what can be presumed at the border, and she faints. When she wakes up, she is in an all sunshine and pastel-hued America that reeks of hope and happiness. She wakes up in a town called Cape Joy where everybody is super sociable and sickeningly sweet toward her. Her child is being cared for by a strange blonde woman who seems like an ally, but you know something is off by how terribly nice everybody is being to Marisol and the other immigrants.
And then unleashes the terrifying twist in the tale, where we find out that Marisol and the other migrants are actually being fed this idea of a glorious and friendly America through virtual reality, while the lot of them are held captive in caged houses and treated in manners worse than lab rats.
The aim of the virtual reality program is to Americanise the migrants so they dress, talk, and act like authentic Americans, while they are being treated with cruelty without their knowledge. It's harrowing, and borderline traumatizing to see the extent these Americans will go to, just to turn immigrants into living breathing dummies that follow their culture, all under the pretext of the idea that "if the immigrant does not bow down to cultural rules of our living, then why come to the country in the first place".
Katie Wilson, who plays the role of Christine, an extremely pro-government conservative reporter, talks about how true to life her character and the scary plot twist in the end is. Christine is all about passionately "broadcasting the tragedies occurring at the southern border", but of course, her perspective is portrayed through rose-tinted glasses that believe all immigrants are enemies at par with wild animals that need to be caged and tamed.
"This episode told such a powerful story and gave a very scary, yet realistic look into what actually occurs at the border," Wilson says about the incredible episode that couldn't have been timed better, especially in the wake of all the socio-political horrors in terms of inherent racism that America is plagued by today.
"I would say this episode has elements of a psychological thriller as well as horror, but not jump-scare horror," Wilson would like to assure fans. "A part of what makes this episode so frightening is how real some of the situations are to our real world. The 'twist on horror' also comes into play with the plot twist," and for that, we have to thank director Gigi Saul Guerrero.
As Wilson claimed, "I was super lucky to have met and worked with Gigi. She's so amazingly talented and created this incredible balance between entertainment, genre and real-world problems. The best part about working with her was just how dedicated she was to make this project truly authentic, and she definitely did."
'Into the Dark: Culture Shock', the 10th feature-length episode of the show, premiered on July 5 and is available for streaming on Hulu now.