Nutshell Review: Monsterland, Season 1
PG Score: 6.5/10
Monsterland is available on Hulu
Monsterland is a satisfactory dramatic horror anthology series from Hulu. The 8 stories take place in various cities across the United States and each one focuses on a different character with a particular plight. These hardships range from poverty to mental illness, while others involve greed and antisocial behavior. Despite the implications of the title, the show shines the spotlight on real, human struggles. The supernatural and terror elements take a big-time backseat, which means Monsterland is primarily a drama with the horror aspect serving as a secondary piece. This dynamic is part of the reason the series is inconsistent from a quality standpoint. When it sprinkles in the scares effectively, it enhances the drama found at the forefront of each tale. When the horror fails to deliver, the story and message both suffer dearly.
Since it is an anthology show filled with a wide variety of actors and directors, it should come as no surprise that some episodes are significantly better than others. One of the nice things about having a standalone structure is that the viewer can pick and choose which ones to watch and in what order. It is worth noting that there are a few episodes that make minor references to others, along with a character who appears multiple times throughout the series. While these instances are a nice touch, it will not take away from the show if the viewer watches out of order or skips over some entries entirely. For those who don’t plan on watching it chronologically or all the way through, I’ve taken the liberty of supplying my top 3 picks of the bunch.
1. Episode 5- Plainfield, IL
2. Episode 1- Port Fourchon, LA
3. Episode 6- Palacios, TX
Monsterland was misleadingly advertised as a horror-first collection. While it may not appeal to the scare-seekers, there’s enough here for those with a broader palate. The show bravely explores some darker corners of humanity with an affecting light, albeit rather inconsistently. While it fails to maintain a steady execution throughout, it does deliver a few treats along the way.