'The Passage' redefines the concept of vampires from what we are used to seeing on screen

The best part about 'The Passage' is the lack of romanticizing of vampires that we are so accustomed to witnessing.


                            'The Passage' redefines the concept of vampires from what we are used to seeing on screen

The most refreshing thing about Fox's latest series adaptation of Justin Cronin's novel 'The Passage' has to be how far it strays from stereotypical cliches of its genre. Bringing together the elements of both science fiction and supernatural - the biggest sellers in contemporary media - the wonderful story about survival set in an apocalyptic climate manages to shine despite its simplistic, paced out storytelling. Through the lives of its main characters Amy Bellafonte (Saniyya Sidney) and Brad Wolgast (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and the coming together of the two as a surrogate father-daughter duo of sorts, 'The Passage' proves to be a touching story, but what is also a particularly thrilling aspect of the show, is its portrayal of vampires in a manner never seen before on the screen.

The best part about 'The Passage' is the lack of romanticizing of vampires that we are so accustomed to witnessing. 'The Passage's vampires do not glitter in the sun like 'Twilight's or run the potential risk of getting burnt in the sun unless they wear a special Daylight ring like 'The Vampire Diaries.' In 'The Passage,' the vampires are too real and too close to living beings. They are in fact humans turned into bloodthirsty monsters by being infiltrated by a virus obtained from certain South American bats, that are also the origins of the vampire legend. 

Jamie McShane in The Passage. Source: Fox
Jamie McShane in The Passage. Source: Fox

The fact that these people weren't bitten by a preexisting supernatural 'bloodsucker' and are humans who walked among us but were wrongfully 'turned' is what makes 'The Passage' almost as chilling as the 'based on a true story' disclaimer at the beginning of a horror movie. 

The official synopsis of the show describes it as: “ An epic, character‐driven thriller about a secret government medical facility experimenting with a dangerous virus that could either cure all disease or cause the downfall of the human race. The series focuses on a 10‐year‐old girl named Amy (Saniyya Sidney), who is chosen to be a test subject for this experiment and Wolgast (Gosselaar), the federal agent who becomes her surrogate father as he tries to protect her.”

A scene from the trailer of 'The Passage.' Source: Youtube screenshot.
A scene from the trailer of 'The Passage.' Source: Youtube screenshot.

The aforementioned medical experiment, Project NOAH happens to be the process of infiltrating a bunch of subjects - mostly criminals and orphans deemed 'expendables' by those in charge of helming the project - which in turn gives them superhuman strength and murderous instincts. From regular people of varying ages and races, they turn into a raw, unplugged version of the overly glorified fanged monsters that have been a pop culture phenomenon since the days of 'Dracula,' 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' and more recently, 'True Blood.'

Vampires in 'The Passage' aren't your quintessential eye candy extraordinaire with a savior complex, always arriving at the right place at the right time to save the damsel in distress. Contrary to the popular idea, they are the victims in the story, and even the havoc they are wreaking - that leads to widespread devastation - is just retaliation to the monsters they have become. These people aren't organized groups of pale, insanely attractive superhumans that go on hunting sprees and know how to maintain boundaries when it comes to their prey. As far fetched an idea as it might seem, 'The Passage's vampires are almost zombie-like creatures but with slightly better control over their instincts. In that, they aren't brain dead and gory but aren't completely capable of putting themselves on a leash either.

 

And this is also what sets 'The Passage' apart from most modern day shows that somehow end up being a must binge watch. Speaking about the distinguishing traits of the show's depiction of vampires, Gosselaar told The Wrap: "Rereading a text that I got from Justin Cronin — because we text quite a bit — he says, ‘This is a vampire story, but these are real ones. These are humans transformed by a virus.' This is based on a vampire myth, but they’re not the Romeo, sparkly-type vampires we’ve seen in the past. They’re uber-predators that are stronger, faster, lethal — and they’re indiscriminate. So it’s nothing like the vampires we’re familiar with, yeah.”

'The Passage' airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. only on Fox.

 

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