RETURNED, THE (EPISODES 1 AND 2)

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THE PLOT THUS FAR

The Returned opens in a small mountain community which is rocked to its core when several local people who are presumed dead suddenly re-appear at their homes. Despite having passed away some years earlier, these ghostly characters appear in human form, they have not aged, and they are completely unaware of their own fatality. Determined to reclaim their lives and start over, they slowly come to realize that they are not the only ones to have been brought back from the dead. Their return augers torment for their community when a series of gruesome murders bear a chilling resemblance to the work of a serial killer from the past. This is a homecoming like no other.

WHAT WE THOUGHT

“The Returned” reminds me of some of the greatest horror literature I’ve ever read. When monsters fail, the reader must be directed back towards those who create them. In this case, we have to watch as wistful scorn and misdirection is the result of loved ones being confronted by zombies of their deceased relatives. These guys don’t want to eat brains, but they do want to return to their normal lives. The problem is that they’ve been dead for awhile and everyone they knew has moved on.

I was sent the first two episodes to review and I’m stunned. Emotional weight is rarely given in horror, as most creators don’t know how to mine it. While the serial killer angle feels a bit cliché, I like the focus on the returned individuals. Calling them zombies or ghosts feels misplaced, but I don’t know what to call them. A lot of them have returned pretty pristine, so there is no ghoulish angle. But, something is so very wrong under the surface.

The show will ultimately stay in my mind long after I’ve finished the season. I’m not sure how long they can keep it on the air, but I think that the French don’t have the same problem as the Brits in that regard. We could easily get two or three more seasons out of the happening. But, this is a very finite show. Count me in on the emotional bond between undead relatives and their loved ones.

RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW! (on TV) 1/21/14 (FULL SEASON DVD)

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