A young person is thrown into an uncomfortable situation and find themselves in over their head with issues that are beyond their control, leading to them scrambling to find a solution. If this premise sounds similar, that’s because it is. Ares is a dutch horror series on Netflix that follows this archetype almost to a fault but does so in a way that never really adds to the opening scenes of the show until near the end in the finale. Despite some intrigue, Ares fails to impress as the series falls into the trap of character melodrama far too often rather than focusing on the horror elements.
The story revolves around Rosa, a young woman who attends school with fellow student Jacob and finds herself recruited to a secret organisation operating at the school known as the Ares Society. After the opening episode sets the scene and introduces our main characters, the initiation begins and from here, more characters enter the fray and are explored in detail during the season. All of the issues surrounding the Ares Society intertwine with fellow student Jacob who has his own personal problems to deal with. All of this builds up to the finale where big secrets are revealed and the door for a second season left open.
Despite the episodes clocking in at a little under 30 minutes a piece, Ares has a real issue with pacing during its midway point, regularly diving into subplots and reveling in character melodrama that doesn’t do an awful lot to progress the main plot. Beyond Rosa, some of the other characters just aren’t all that exciting and the show suffers from the same issues a lot of these other teen dramas do too. We’ve seen this idea of someone joining a society before and Ares doesn’t do an awful lot to stand out from others. It’s also not particularly scary or creepy beyond a couple of stand-out moments.
Aesthetically though, the first scene of the show does a wonderful job introducing this concept, with a maniacal woman repeatedly stabbing herself with upbeat music in the background. It’s deliciously dark and enough to draw you into this show but beyond that segment, nothing ever really reaches that same level again. Far too often Ares sinks into melodrama and soapy character woes with some late issues revolving around the leader of the Ares Society typifying this.
After a decent opening episode, the show spirals into mediocrity a little too quickly. Given Ares can be watched in about 4 hours or so, if you’re a horror fan then this is worth giving a go but there isn’t a whole lot here to get excited about as the show feels pretty predictable with its various plot beats along the way. It’s certainly not the worst show of the year and there are some stand-out moments but these feel frustratingly few and far between, making this an uninspiring average option on Netflix.
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Verdict - 5/10