Episode 1 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 4/5
When it comes to horror, no other continent on Earth handles this as well as Asia. From the enduring dread of the Ringu and Grudge characters to the slew of creepy horrors that become cult favourites, Asia is unrivaled for a reason.
Being able to sustain a consistent level of dread and tension across an extended period of time for a series however, is a whole different kettle of fish. It’s something few shows have managed to get right. Perhaps ironically then, Hollywood’s The Haunting Of Hill House is one of the few that actually manages to achieve this. Strangers From Hell is not the next Haunting Of Hill House. It is, however, a particularly effective and dread-inducing psychological thriller.
The story revolves around Yoon Jong-Woo who receives a lucrative job offer and moves to Seoul. With money tight, he winds up staying in a cheap apartment block. The only problem is, it’s shared by some pretty creepy and unnerving characters.
From the maniacally laughing Deuk-Jong to the quiet and reserved Nam-Bok, every character inside this apartment block has a secret they’re holding. Across the 10 episodes we learn exactly what that secret is and it spills over into a pretty climactic and thrilling finale. However, it also brings with it some big questions during the final scenes of the episode that are sure to get fans talking.
This twist though is well-earned and something that puts the drama that unfolds across the season into perspective. There’s some lovely themes around darkness and isolation which works well to compliment the innocent character of Jong-Woo. His struggle to maintain his sanity in the wake of all these awful atrocities is partly why the show works as well as it does.
Despite its 10 episode run, Strangers From Hell does feel in danger of outstaying its welcome at times. The opening slew of episodes craft an incredibly tense and unnerving atmosphere but late on the same sense of urgency feels lost. This is also around the same time the police start to investigate further and this split focus causes the drama to lose some of its spark.
What it doesn’t lose, however, is that sense of impending dread. There’s very few jump scares here and instead the show really leans into its psychological aspects. Even a scene as simple as sitting down and eating food is given some uneasiness and props to the writers for being able to do this.
As a binge-watch this definitely holds up better than watching one episode a week. With Netflix and Viu both streaming this one, it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy the nightmarish ride.
Strangers From Hell isn’t particularly scary but it does hold up well as a compelling psychological thriller. If you can go into this one with an open mind, this ride to hell is worth taking – even if the end result doesn’t burn as brightly as it could.
Verdict - 8/10