[Review] Netflix goes docuscary with Haunted… or at least tries

Avatar photo Geeky a Go Go6 years agon/a7 min

Hi geekies! Sorry it’s been so long between posts. I’ve been travelling so much lately I’m beginning to be on a first name basis with the OTG waiters at Newark/Liberty International Airport.  While this is a great way for me to achieve George Clooney status on United, it’s also given me the chance to catch up (read: binge on many hour flights) on my Netflix and Hulu queues.

Being a super fan of horror, my recommendations are usually filled with covers of blood drenched scream queens, or dark figures shadowed by intense white back lighting… you know, family friendly stuff. One such recommendation was Netflix’s original series – Haunted. The eerie title and Netflix’s run of successes like Black Mirror and Stranger Things gave me high hopes for the limited series.

Before I go on, please note:

Spoilers are ahead.

You’ve been warned.

The concept is an interesting one. Each episode is a reverse intervention, group therapy type of set up where the protagonist recounts a supernatural even from their past (or in some cases present). The framework of each episode is a cut between reality and reenactment; you know like you’d see on the Discovery Channel or History Channel (with the exception of some tasteful nudity in the last episode – to the person sitting behind me on that flight – I apologize again for that). Nudity aside, the other difference between this and similar shows on the Discovery Channel is the quality of the reenactments which could actually stand on their own as short, fairly well produced and performed videos. I believe this styling is due to executive producer Brett-Patrick Jenkins who has experience with this format from his Amazon production of LORE which follows in the vein of reenacted story telling.

Format aside, the stories, if taken for good old fashion horror fun, would be okay. They are like campfire stories told to spook the crap out of us, leaving some doubt in our minds that hey, this could be possible. We don’t need a disclaimer claiming or denying it. From ladies hanging in closets to a farmhouse in upstate New York haunted by the hundreds of people murdered there, to finally an Alien abduction – these are tropes and tales we’ve all heard a thousand times with the exception that these ones are actually billed as “based on true events”. Here’s where we get lost, and the internet (you’ve met the internet right? That beast known for calling bullshit in the face of bullshit, and creating bullshit because… well why not?) is already calling shenanigans on several of these tales. A quick Google search of “Netflix, Haunted” will pull up myriad stories and reddit threads calling out the lack of compelling evidence that any of these are real.

I liken this to the time that I learned that Operation Repo was mostly fake… I was heartbroken… okay maybe that’s too dramatic. I was very disappointed – so now going into any of these types of shows my bull shit meter pings loud and it rang hella loud on this series.

Dear Netflix, next time, don’t say it’s based on a true story unless you have some really great evidence to prove that it is in fact so.

What I left my binge with was a series of mixed feelings. Now I will admit, I muscled through all the episodes, however, if it was due to the lack of things I had downloaded on my phone for in-flight entertainment or if I truly was enthralled by the content I’ll never know. The true test of this would be if I had started it at home on my giant 75” 4k television and carried the excitement to the plane. Then… well yes, I could easily say that I loved the content. Unfortunately, in this case, I forced myself through it due to a lack of options.

In the end, this show is good for background noise while researching something else to spend your precious time on.

Happy haunting,

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