What Lies Beneath
DC Universe is fast becoming the must-have streaming platform. After the impressive Titans and Doom Patrol’s incredibly unique and genre-bending 16 episodes, DC return again and strike while the iron is hot. With a distinct horror tone and a beautifully written tribute to 80’s horror, Swamp Thing gets off to a fantastic start.
We begin with a brief prologue, with three people exploring a dark swamp on a boat in the middle of the night. The swamp itself happens to be alive though and as vines consume the boat, something lurks in the distance, watching them.
We then jump forward to Louisiana as Dr Abby Arcane arrives from the CDC to investigate a disease that appears to have consumed a young girl in the town. Kept in containment at the hospital, Abby goes and visits the girl, noticing a leaf on her pillow. As she ponders what this means outside the room, a strange man appears, telling Abby she won’t find anything in the standard rule-book on what this disease is. However, he’s escorted out by the Doctors before he can elaborate.
This prompts Abby to go and investigate the house and after some digging around, she finds the girl’s Father consumed by vines, standing at the bathroom mirror. However, the scientist from earlier, Alec, is found taking samples and Abby heads back to his lab to try and figure out quite what’s going on. He tells her he’s on course to tracking down the origin of the mutagen however as they do more experiments, the body from earlier begins to stir on the table. The gnarly vines whip and flail around the room as the corpse rises from the table and begins attacking them. Abby manages to make it out and thanks to some quick thinking, a pair of scissors and a lighter, Alec follows suit after burning the vines.
As they reel over what’s happened, Abby is given some home truths before being told to leave the minute the little girl is better by one of the residents, Maria. Later that night Abby and Alec head back out to the swamp again, finding strange vials in a box which they promptly take back to the lab. They decide to investigate further, with Abby deciding to head back to the hospital with the samples they have while Alec takes the laptop found on the boat and explore the hot spots in the swamp.
Once there, a strange, shadowy figure shoots him with a shotgun before blowing the boat sky high. Abby, back at the lab, looks outside and sees the fiery inferno, immediately rushing to find out whats going on. Despite surviving the blast, vines wrap themselves around Alec and drag him under the water. As Abby arrives, the swamp creature rises from the depths, prompting her to run away which is where we leave the episode.
Swamp Thing does incredibly well to set the tone and mood across this hour long episode. There’s a lot of call backs to old 80’s horror and combines nicely with the modern slant of using low-rumbling horns for the musical score. The result is a smartly written horror, an episode that draws on the comic lore for inspiration while delivering a unique, scary superhero offering. With great pacing, empathetic characters and some slick visuals, Swamp Thing is another must-watch and looks set to be another home run for DC.