The Black Lake
Netflix could be onto something special here. From the first episode alone, this Italian Netflix series manages to combine teen drama with supernatural and mystery elements beautifully, feeling like a medley of influences drawn from other sources but combined into something that feels wholly fresh and exciting. There’s elements of The Shining, Dark and a plethora of horror films that make for a really fascinating and utterly engrossing watching.
“”It will happen to you too,” Lili tells her daughter Anna as episode 1 of Curon begins with her Father clutching a gun tightly and taking her daughter upstairs. As muffled talk downstairs ensues, Anna heads down to investigate and sees her Mother shot in the stomach…by herself? As Anna passes out, we cut forward in time.
Anna is now a lot older and drives her two kids Daria and Mauro back to Curon where she hasn’t been for 17 years. As she makes it into the hallway of the ominous hotel she grew up in, fragments of the past come back as she remembers her Father scrambling to take her out the house. As the kids heads upstairs to explore, Anna’s Father Thomas happens to be there to greet them.
His greeting is frosty to say the least, telling Anna in confidence that the only reason she’s there is to get away from her partner Pietro. He tells her to leave, prompting the kids to try and find a hotel to stay in. Only, when a blackout ensues in the local bar, Thomas arrives and allows them to stay in the hotel – just as the lights then come back on.
As they walk, he tells the kids that the candles outside houses are there to “ward off the shadows”. It’s a small note but something that’s definitely worth remembering going forward.
Back at the hotel, Thomas tells the kids not to go near the bell tower under any circumstances. As the night draws in, Mauro hears something upstairs and awakens Daria. As she puffs on a cigarette, disinterested by his claims, Mauro decides to go and investigate as he follows the ominous thumping to a locked door.
Despite trying to pick the lock, Thomas arrives and stops him, writing off the leaking water and thumping as the old hotel falling apart.
Anna speaks to Daria about her recurring nightmare, talking about how it always ends at the same time. Unable to sleep, Anna decides to share the room with the kids but ends up sleeping in Mauro’s bed instead of Daria’s, which doesn’t sit well with her.
In the morning, Anna drops the kids off at school after bumping into an old friend, Albert. Daria makes her feelings felt straight away in class; she establishes herself as someone you really don’t want to mess with. Afterward, she heads out with Mauro to rent a boat. Unfortunately, the boat owner won’t rent to their family and they’re forced to head home.
On the road, they’re approached by the boys from school who invite the twins along to the party being held later that night. Mauro and Daria fall out though when he wants to leave early and as she starts drinking, he walks away into the woods and sneaks onto a boat with the intent of finding his drone.
Daria meanwhile gets involved in a drinking competition with the boys, featuring bragging rights as the last one standing.
Giulio and Davide discuss an old folk legend in Curon which reads that when you hear bells coming from the tower you die. Writing it off as superstition, another blackout ensues shortly after, just as Mauro manages to recover his drone. He slips, plunging into the icy cold water as Daria does the same and has vivid nightmares of a wolf hunting her in the woods.
Back at the hotel, Mauro returns with his drone but hears the familiar thumping again. This time, he picks the lock and makes it inside the room where he sees his Mother sitting in the corner chained up. Unlocking the chains, Anna knocks him down to the ground just as Thomas arrives and puts Mauro to bed.
Thomas heads back into the locked up room and grabs his gun, determined to track down exactly who – or what -happened to be inside the room which is where the episode ends.
With some nice rotating cameras and a seriously creepy and eerie atmosphere hanging over large swathes of this episode, Curon gets off to a really good start. The leaking room and what lies within is certainly an intriguing mystery and it seems to be hinting that Anna may even have a sister.
Daria and Mauro are decent protagonists to root for too and as they slip further into this mystery, it seems Anna is hiding a lot of secrets from the past. So far so good though and Curon is certainly gearing up to become a must-watch mystery series.