Are you ready to be truly afraid? From – available on Amazon Prime Video – is a drama series that expertly mixes horror and science fiction by sprinkling large doses of claustrophobic tension on it. Divided (for now) into two seasons, From imagines a city where it is impossible to escape while the nocturnal creatures that threaten it are relentless. A small and unknown town in the middle of the United States is a real trap for those who get there. For all who enter it, it is impossible to get out but it becomes increasingly difficult to survive as it is besieged by terrible nocturnal creatures that arrive from the surrounding forest. But it is the city itself that hides secrets that prove deadly for visitors.
If someone immediately thought of Lost, it’s good: the point is that twenty years after the brilliant creature of Lindelof and Abrams it is no longer plagiarism but inspiration, a bit like the Odyssey or the Betrothed. The mystery is there and you can’t see it, and it seems that we viewers are waiting for nothing else: something that goes beyond what is narrated can be glimpsed against the light, but only after ten episodes is it clear what is there. Or at least, that there is something. Of course, there is Lost just as there is Wayward Pines, but also Twin Peaks and its many offspring: but there is also social analysis, the desire to delve into and out of behavior, lucid group analyzes and a psychologism that become trivial but only be able to involve even the most distracted spectator.
Fear and restlessness
From is a good example of a high concept series, centered around an intricate and abstruse mystery that keeps the inhabitants of an isolated village in check. Its residents are passers-by who have been trapped there, who have been prevented by something magical and sinister from leaving the perimeter of the town. The show originally attracted the attention of lovers of seriality – and not necessarily horror – because the producers are brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, to be clear, those of the Marvel saga of the Avengers. Supporting the story – an original subject – by John Griffin, a large group of actors led by Harold Perrineau (just look at his former Lost actor) finally in a leading role.
As Boyd, he is one of the best-developed characters in this ensemble psychological thriller that investigates the influence of fear and claustrophobia on small groups, undermined by paranoia, distrust and despair. And in From’s case, the reasons for suffering from it are all justified: between the creatures that terrorize citizens and the law of retaliation that is in force in the town, there is really something to fear. The authors put a lot of care into building the atmosphere and above all they linger in the gore with undeniable taste. The village is bare and desolate, the wooded surroundings dense and uninhabited, horribly mutilated corpses abound and the camera lingers generously on disemboweled and mangled bodies. And the monsters, which look like simple revenants, take on the features of gruesome ghosts when they pounce on the victims to devour.
From: beyond fear there is much more
From perfectly balances the fear generated by waiting, impotence and a subdued tension with the splatterfest jumpscare that he willingly indulges. The show leaves the viewer with that dramatic feeling, at the end of each episode, of remaining dry, of having touched a turning point or the answer to a mystery only to have it taken away at the last second. It is certainly intriguing, and the series adopts this device much better than several other stories set in small villages gripped by a mystery from which you cannot escape. Often, in fact, in the case of small town mysteries at Wayward Pines, the interest of the public deflates as quickly as the initial hype was formed.
When we are faced with provincial American horror noir we are always afraid of running into a boiata: it is the Lost syndrome. Fortunately, the creators of From have built the story meticulously, giving the characters depth and a past that supports their choices and actions. In short, From is here to demonstrate that it is still possible to create something new and exciting by hybridizing genres and sub-genres and echoing stories that have already been heardwith the power of intelligence and inventiveness: because the generalist narrative characteristics are combined with man’s deepest fears, but in a way that is never trivial and always extremely, absolutely sincere.