The Oberlin Review

New Netflix Thriller Chambers Highlights Native Identities

Jackie Brant, Opinions Editor

May 10, 2019

 Chambers, an innovative new Netflix horror series, premiered last month and has received mixed reviews amidst a growing genre of horror-themed TV shows. The storyline follows the main character Sasha, a Native teenager living in Arizona who receives a heart transplant from a girl named Becky (Lillya Scarlett Reid). After Sasha connects with Becky’s parents, mysterious and dangerous events begin to unfold surrounding Becky’s death, and Sasha attempts to uncover what really happened to Becky. The show features breakout star Sivan Alyra Rose, supported by numerous veteran actors including Uma Thurman and Tony Goldwyn. Chambers has been criticized for being too slow and incorporating too many elements of classic ...

Bringing Gothic Thrillers Back, “Us” Breaks Box Office

Ananya Gupta, Managing Editor

April 5, 2019

Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers of the movie Us.  Jordan Peele’s Us is a gripping horror film that dabbles in a variety of uncanny, terror-inducing devices — doppelgängers, scientific experiments gone wrong, and darkly creative scenes of pursuit, stabbing, and bloodshed.  The plot follows Adelaide Wilson, played phenomenally by Lupita Nyong’o, as she navigates the childhood trauma of finding a little girl who looks exactly like her in an abandoned mirror maze. Returning to the location where this took place — this time as an adult with a family of her own — she experiences a sense of foreboding that her doppelgänger is coming to get her. Adelaide’s fears come true, when not just ...

“Annihilation” Brings Weird Fiction to Big-Budget Filmmaking

Christian Bolles, Editor-in-Chief

March 9, 2018

Editor’s note: This article contains mentions of depression and self-harm. “That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die.” Among all of H.P. Lovecraft’s mind-bending prose, this sentence may come closest to a thesis statement for weird fiction, the genre his writing popularized. The word “weird” seems to exist in the uncanny periphery of our understanding of the world. Weird fiction, then, is gothic horror written to instill a terror that lingers far longer than any work of pure horror. Toward the close of the first act of Alex Garland’s Annihilation, five women stand before a shifting wall, reminiscent of the polychrome texture of a bubble which may as well be an e...

Successful King Adaptation “It” Combines Horror, Heart

Christian Bolles, Editor-in-Chief

September 15, 2017

It’s the great cinematic whodunit of the past few years: who killed mainstream horror? Despite critical darlings from breakout directors like David Eggers (The Witch), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), and David Robert Mitchell (It Follows) — all independent films that scored modest, unimpressive box office returns — the world of big-budget filmmaking has lately seen few horror movies worth their salt. Most of what has been on offer, such as Lights Out, Ouija, and Unfriended, rely on gimmicky premises designed to lure audiences into theaters without much caring if they enjoy the ensuing bloodbath. Gone are the Halloweens and Nightmare on Elm Streets of the world. The best recent mainstream horror has played with t...

‘Witch’ Taps into Paranoia, American Nationalism

Christian Bolles, Columnist

March 4, 2016

While The Conjuring flaunted its beat-by-beat horror and It Follows divided many fans of the genre, something was watching from the dark, forgotten woods of this country’s cultural memory. It’s a subgenre sometimes overlooked in cinema, containing innate nuance. That gold mine of cinematic potential is the American gothic tale, and The Witch taps into it. With The Witch, first-time writer-director Robert Eggers set out to craft a meticulously detailed period film predicated upon believability, accuracy and respect for the source material: hundreds of historical documents, both fictional and not, which he pored over for years leading up to filming. His work paid off: The Witch is a tense, suffocating account o...

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