The last few weeks I’ve been watching this tv show from last year. It may not have been as well promoted as American Horror Story, and it is a different kind of show, but it has been interesting. There are still not enough small screen regular horror/supernatural tv shows, and this one almost slipped me by until I caught it on a UK cable channel.
The stars Mena Suvari, it was executive produced by infamous modern horror directors Eli Roth and Ti Westand and each episode has a different and experienced director ranging from Jennfier Lynch, Roth, Rachel Talalay and others. It was only a short run of 8 episodes but may yet return.
The story is set in the deep south in American and follows Maria (Suvari) and her brother as they hunt demons. Maria actually has her own demon whom she regularly talks with, and must cooperate with as they investigate the various murders and incidents to uncover the deeper secrets around them.
The show is let wild and bloody than American Horror Story, and steadily moves along almost more like a standard cop show thriller until Maria’s demon Abigail is needed to fight some dark forces, her green eyes and Exorcist voice keeping the horror genre style in check. Mena Suvari plays both Maria and Abigail on screen, and this is often different and entertaining. Maria joins with Rev. Elijah Bledsoe working to investigate the suspicious activities of the increasingly influential spirtual cult in town and their leader Enos- the father of Maria and David.
Early on, the possibly challenging budget of the show does show a few limitations with visual effects, but the story and presence of Suvari manage to keep the show together. I think it does also help that each show did have a different but very experience genre director, which help it to retain a steady but shifting style.
It may not have been the most totally original or challenging new horror/supernatural show, it may not either be the most gruesome or gore-filled but it did a least try to do something with story, characters and themes of redemption, addiction, faith, family in a failry sombre way.
The final two episodes moved along and perhaps got up the the confident pace and drama which was possibly lacking much earlier on in the series. Again while not hugely fresh, some of the storytelling and editing here at the end may have really boosted the show but some of this may have come down to the budget, production and ratings.
So even while this was early on hyped as potentially another wild, gruesome Eli Roth production, it was actually nowhere near as melodramatic or over the top as American Horror Story or as visually lavish as Penny Dreadful. All this considered, South of Hell was still and good short series, and I would be interested to see it return and take the characters somewhere else next time.
James E.Parsons is author of SF book Orbital Kin-paperback/ebook from all good book retailers. New novel Minerva Century out soon in 2016, as paperback/ebook/hardback.