Channel Zero: Candle Cove Mid-Season Review

by Ricardo Henriquez

Channel Zero: Candle Cove may not be a perfect show, but it is, without a doubt, one of the best horror shows produced this year.  After three episodes, the story of murderous children, creepy puppets and a town lost in grief, continues to deliver an intriguing tale that gets darker each week.

Director Craig William MacNeill does a masterful job creating a gripping and eerie setting in which the presence of unseen evil forces is palpable. However, Channel Zero: Candle Cove’s main issue is inconsistency. Moments of pure genius are followed by clunky dialogues and weak plotlines. Don’t get me wrong; the good significantly outnumbers the bad in this show, but the contrast between the high and lows after a while, becomes distracting.

From this point on is all *spoilers*, so if you have not watched the first three episodes yet, you should stop reading.

At the mid-season point, the answer to one of the main mysteries of the show have been revealed. We know that Eddie –Mike’s dead twin brother—is responsible for the murders that tore the town apart twenty years ago. We also know that Mike killed his twin to stop his homicidal spree.  This was a fantastic twist. Until the end of episode two (I’ll hold your hand) we are led to believe that the murders may have been committed by a supernatural creature connected to the TV show Candle Cove. The revelation that Eddie is the killer was surprising and refreshing.

We learn the truth about the murders after Mike confesses to killing Eddie to his mother, Marla, which is one of those great moments followed by a weak plotline. At the end of episode two Mike is arrested by Sheriff Gary Yolen who –of course—decides that he needs a private chat with Mike before taking him to jail.

In episode three Gary brings Mike to an abandoned home. Daphne Bell and Tim Hazel arrive just a couple of minutes later and then the cliché “grieving family members taking justice into their own hands” scene start. The problem with this whole arc is not only how cliché it is, but also how pointless it become when Gary makes clear that they are there just to get answers, but nobody is allowed to hurt Mike. As expected the peaceful interrogation goes south pretty quick and it ends up with Mike being shot.

The “abduction” is used as a device to tell the story of the murders. We see through a flashback how Eddie killed Tim’s brother and the town’s main bully, Gene Hazel. This scene is a remarkable piece of horror. What follows is disturbing. Eddie takes control of Gene’s mind. He makes the bully laugh hysterically. Next, he orders him to kneel in front of him, lick his hand and then pulled out his own teeth. The scene ends with a shocked Mike witnessing his brother making Gene jump from the cliff.

Adult Mike is eventually rescued by his mother and Gary’s wife, Jessica. From there the third episode gets back on track delivering outstanding camera work and non-stop chills. The scene in which Daphne visits Mrs. Booth to confess her part on Mike’s earlier kidnapping is an example of this. The conversation at the kitchen table and that moment in which, unexpectedly, the teacher kills Daphne reminded me of the opening scene of Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, by the way in which the characters’ bodies are not entirely within the camera frame, but we still know exactly what is about to happen.

Despite its weaknesses Channel Zero: Candle Cove is a must watch for horror fans. Midway through its first season there are still many mysteries to unravel and, I predict, many more murders to come. The show it is cinematic and absorbing, and that is enough to make you forgive its sins.



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