The Problem With THE RIVER

Posted: February 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

A Remake Chronicles Extra by Adam-Troy Castro

The new TV series THE RIVER is an attempt to capture some of the addictive zing of LOST, in which various people travel up the Amazon and encounter various horrific manifestations of the supernatural while looking for a missing Steve Irwin-type character. The good news is that it is indeed every bit as scary as it intends to be, if you can get past the “captured footage” format. The first two episodes are fine little self-contained horror movies, each involving a different uncanny menace. You should check it out, if only once.

Alas, the series as a whole already suffers from Why-The-Hell-Don’t-They-Just-Get-Out-Of-The-House syndrome.

Whatever you think of LOST, you have to admit that its characters *had* to deal with the mysteries of the island: first they were stuck there, and then they had persuasive motivation to go back.

By contrast, these characters have, in the course of just a couple of days, dealt with one screeching invisible presence that dragged screaming people off the deck of the ship, and another shrieking invisible presence that sucked screaming people down into the swamp. They have been promised that it gets worse up-river. One woman in the cast of characters is the missing explorer’s wife and is determined to find her husband; I can get why she’s ready to press on. One of the guys is the missing explorer’s estranged son; I can even buy his motivation, though I think he’ll give up earlier. There’s another woman, looking for her own father. Fine. But the rest? The documentary producer? The cameraman? The ship’s engineer? How many times in rapid succession must these people find themselves in the dark, fighting for their lives against supernatural manifestations, each worse than the last, before they all start saying, “Screw This SIDEWAYS, your missing explorer can wait for the marines, I’m not too proud to say that I’m a coward, I’m turning this dinghy around and heading straight for the nearest bar that serves drinks with little umbrellas in them?”

I say it should have happened by episode 3…


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