Netflix's 'Chambers' features gore and brilliant gothic aesthetics in a teen horror highlighting class divide
This article contains spoilers for 'Chambers' season 1.
Netflix has a new thriller and if you're the quintessential horror fan, it just might be the thing to watch out for. Called 'Chambers,' the debut season of the show premiered this Friday, April 26, with a total of 10 episodes.
With a star cast as promising as the likes of Uma Thurman and Tony Goldwyn, the thriller series called 'Chambers,' is set to feature newcomer Sivan Alyra Rose in a riveting tale of dark, twisted secrets unfolding after what seemed like a harmless heart-transplant surgery.
The twists of this coming-of-age thriller make it a binge-worthy hit, but there are other bonus perks as well. Featuring a Native American and Hispanic cast, the film explores the psychological monsters that we - ourselves, our families, communities, and countries - can become. Beneath the surface of a coming-of-age story centered around a young teen heart attack survivor, are chilling discoveries that expose incredible darkness in an otherwise close-knit community.
The early reviews of 'Chambers' only elucidate those highlights further, while also making a note of how the show tends to get a bit too ambitious at times, and at other times, too slow for its own good.
There has been much buzz about the aesthetic visuals of the show, which has been credited to pilot director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, known for his gothic themes on 'American Horror Story' and 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.'
The story focuses on Sasha (Rose) who suffers a near-fatal heart attack during a moment of intimacy with her boyfriend, but when she wakes up from it, she finds herself with a brand new heart.
While the new heart logically came from a plausible transplant, the haunted incidents that transpire following it are absolutely eerie and supernatural. There's no explanation at all. Soon, Sasha figures out that the previous owner of the heart had quite a haunted and troubled past as the new heart pretty much begins consuming her with its sinister desires and insidious nature.
Simply put, Sasha begins embodying more and more the characteristics of the deceased whose heart is now beating in her body. Thus ensues a tale of blood, horror and especially lust as for some reason, Sasha can't stop lusting after a new guy at school, Ravi (Jonny Rios) - all because she thinks she has met him in her dreams.
The horror is queasy at times, if not throughout the 10 episodes of the first season. And with the whole recipient starting to embody the dead donor's characteristics trope, 'Chambers' does not fail at delivering a tale that, even though falling a little flat at times, makes up for shocking elements of not the good kind of surprises.
In that, it is exactly what a binge-worthy horror needs, even though it doesn't stress the brain all that much. There's not much thinking the viewer will need to put into enjoying the tale because it's so busy scaring the audience most of the time. With scenes like the lead pulling apart her chest to reveal live mice coming out along with blood, the series comes loaded with gore - which is enough to leave the viewer a little shaken.
Like IGN notes in their review, the unique thing to watch out for in 'Chambers' is its element of teenage horror which is not similar to other coming-of-age shows we have seen recently, such as the likes of 'Riverdale', 'Pretty Little Liars', and 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina'.
They use young adult leads to signify the class divide between those barely making ends meet, and those living in resplendence, but none of that is executed with reckless abandon, that most shows in the recent past have fallen prey to. "It's great that Netflix is using its platform and budget to create shows like Chambers. Even if the finished product might be lacking, it feels good that experimental, unconventional genre shows like this are being made," wrote the outlet, accurately summing up the show.
Robert Lloyd of The LA Times wrote: "The dialogue has a lifelike flow and the production is unusually naturalistic for a scary story; the small-town scenes, with Sasha and Yvonne and TJ and Frank, feel only a step or two away from documentary. Indeed, those characters are vivid enough to sustain a series on their own, without the hocus-pocus. ... The series' deliberate pace works best at the beginning, when we are being shown the lay of the land, and less well toward the end when one might want it to hurry up and get where it's going."
Alec McLevy of The AV Club also praised the show, noting: "The ambition is admirable. Episodes will jump forward and backward in time, teasing out elements of story in ways not often seen on television, and helping to keep the endless J. J. Abrams-style mystery-box tactics of the show from getting overly tiresome."
'Chambers' season 1 arrives on Friday, April 26, only on Netflix.