Go For Broke
Punished, as a Boy
First Shot a Winner, Lads
Horrible from Supper
Terror Camp Clear
The C, The C, The Open C
We Are Gone
The Terror is the latest in a recent surge of excellent horror on TV that manages to combine breathtaking visuals, real history and a touch of the supernatural in an impressive way. There’s pangs of cult classics like The Thing and Lord Of The Flies at work here, especially with the isolated setting and impossibly bleak Arctic desert, and there’s an uncomfortably tense atmosphere hanging over every scene. The first couple of episodes are a little slow, used as a foundation to world build and set the mood of the series, but once the plot gets going The Terror is relentless, managing to constantly shock and horrify right through to its climactic finale.
Set in 1847, The Terror follows the crews of two British naval vessels, the HMS Terror and HMS Erebus on an expedition to plot a course through the Arctic North. Interestingly, the beginning portion of this story is steeped in realism; the lost Franklin Expedition did set sail with two ships and was stuck in the ice for 8 months. With the events following this unknown beyond bone fragments and scientific theories, The Terror dives into the horror genre, taking influence from the book of the same name to imagine a horrific scenario of just what happened to the men on board both ships.
Early on, the crew discover they’re not alone in the wilderness as a deadly creature stalks them and this breeds some deep rooted fear and paranoia among many of the men. As the series progresses, the plot cleverly evolves to tease mutiny, a descent into madness and even cannibalism reminisce of other cult classics that tackle these subjects. Toward the end of the series both storylines combine; the creature and the infighting between the crew. This all slowly builds toward a satisfying but somewhat sombre ending to this excellent series.
Those looking for an action packed horror rife with frights and jump scares may be left disappointed here. The Terror is a methodically paced, almost unbearably slow series that plays on its suffocating tension hanging over every scene to devastating effect. Establishing shots linger on giving the false perception something will jump out, unbearable silence between bites of dialogue keep you on the edge of your seat and all the while The Terror ever so slowly builds each episode toward a burst of action during the final 5 or 10 minutes. It’s a really clever idea too and certainly effective given that it isn’t overused throughout the series.
All of this great work would account for nothing if the acting wasn’t on point and thankfully The Terror excels here too. Every believably written character borders on the edge of sanity as the episodes progress and the time spent isolated grows ever larger. Early on one of the key characters in the series meets a gruesome end and what follows is a steady stream of characters slowly picked off one by one. For obvious reasons we will not divulge who these characters are but suffice to say, they’re well written and memorable nonetheless. Whether through sickness on board the ship, the creature outside or worse, the unpredictable nature of just who might die does make for more of a passive watch rather than one full of empathy despite how memorable some of these characters are. Of course, that’s not to say the series suffers for it, quite the opposite, the tense atmosphere manages to overshadow most of this passive characterisation making it easy to forgive most of the issues this raises.
The Terror continues the trend of excellent horror on TV with a slow paced, incredibly tense series. Boasting excellent acting, incredible visuals and some impressive cinematography, The Terror certainly lives up to its name to produce some terrifying and suspenseful moments through its 10 episodes. Some may be put off by the painfully slow pace and lack of action but for those who can persevere with this one, there’s an incredible horror experience waiting to be uncovered. The Terror may not be the scariest show on TV, it’s certainly up there with some of the best horror and for that alone, is well worth watching.
Verdict - 8.5/10