TV Review: “The River”

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Grade: B+

ABC’s “The River” is the perfect cross between the drama “Lost” and a typical horror movie. Set in the already mysterious Amazon, the show by the makers of “Paranormal Activity” and producer Steven Spielberg follows the Cole family as they search for their father who went missing in the creepy river atmosphere.

The two-hour premiere started off slow, with obligatory dialogue between the family members and establishing the plot. Filmed using camera angles meant for the “really there” feeling, a viewer might get motion sickness just from watching the first five minutes.

A better cast would have made this show more believable. Filmed mostly with actors who are hardly household names, the mother and the son look more like siblings than anything else. These two stood out particularly for their overacting; they might even garner some laughter at their attempts at drama.

The show jumped from scene to scene without much of a smooth segue. Most of the actors were foreign, so subtitles were provided. Although this helped, it did take away from the suspense of the story.

The show had some things working for it. Despite shaky camera work and bad acting, there were several moments where one couldn’t help but scream. People were dragged into the river by an unknown being, terrifying baby dolls were hung from trees and other such scary circumstances were successfully accomplished.

The ending left me catching my breath and eager to find out what will happen to the family next. With the overall atmosphere of being in a foreign country, in the middle of the jungle with blood-thirsty animals waiting in the water, this show does not disappoint in the gross/scary category.

With themes like ghosts, magic, possession, and voodoo, horror fans are sure to be hooked. The first hour of the show was boring and even slightly nauseating with the camera work, but the last half was definitely scarier than most horror movies I’ve seen.

I recommend this show to anyone who enjoys scary movies. Most television shows don’t offer a good scare, but this one does. “The River” isn’t perfect, but it will certainly leave you wondering more about what lies beneath.