Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Review: Netflix’s “Marianne” is a perfect horror tale


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Photo courtesy of IMDB

Story by Sam Long | Assistant Editor

Warning: This article contains some spoilers for Marianne. 

France-based, Netflix original television series Marianne pulls all the stops on what good horror should be. With well-paced jump scares, intriguing narrative and a high creep-factor, Marianne was a new addition I was delighted to add to my top ten Halloween season movies list. 

The series centers around famous horror writer Emma Larsimon, who is summoned back to her hometown of Elden, when she finds that the devious characters she writes in her novels have come to life, carrying out the horrific deeds of her books.

The first episode, just under an hour-long, opens with Emma’s big signing event for the conclusion of her horror series. A rockstar of the literary sense, Emma walks in with shades and a wicked side cut, carrying the swagger, attitude and biting sarcasm that only someone who writes monstrosities for a living could possess. 

As the signing comes to a close, old friend Caroline from her hometown rushes the table and demands that Emma return to see her mother, Madame Daugeron, at once. She plops onto the table a bloody satchel made of skin, hair, teeth and blood, a relic from Emma’s novels. Madame Daugeron, so enamored with the stories, has convinced herself that she is in fact Marianne, the witch from Emma’s tales. 

Wasting no time to get into the story, this series follows Emma as she tries to stop Madame Daugeron from this obsession (or so we are to believe) and to stop the other events of her stories from coming to life. 

Created and directed by Samuel Bodin and written by Bodin and Quoc Dang Tran, the series originally debuted in France in 2019 and shortly moved to international distribution. In its first run, the series received a 93 percent critic score and 88 percent audience score from review site Rotten Tomatoes. While a couple of years old at this point, the story and the cinematic elements of the series make it one that live up to these reviews and can stand the test of short-lived horror fads. 

Bodin takes on the additional challenge of creating a series rather than just an hour and a half to two-hour movie. He captures Emma’s desperation episode to episode to stop the unfolding of her own stories. Much like an actual horror novel, Bodin sets up the episodes according to chapters in Emma’s novel, allowing the audience to follow along as she tries to disrupt the havoc and devastation her character, Marianne, is wrecking upon her hometown. 

While the film introduces many elements of horror throughout the series, the jump scares and the paranormal events are executed without being tacky. The pacing of the story along with the typical “scare” moments are well executed, though the English dub from the English translation of the original French language of the series was lacking at times. 

Despite the dub, for those who are tired of the same rotations of movies and shows on Netflix, this is a must-view for your list.

Originally intended for three seasons, the show was canceled following the end of the first season. According to Instagram, Bodin said while there wouldn’t be another season of Marianne, there are certainly more stories to come.

Bodin did indeed keep true to his promise. In 2020, he was invited to the production team of Lionsgate’s Cobweb, an up-and-coming horror film that tells the story of a boy who hears voices in the walls of his home and discovers they are no figment of his imagination. 

Throughout the month, I have been looking for a show or film that would truly scare me and found myself exhausted of flipping through the same titles on Netflix. Coming across this series by complete accident was the happiest accident of my Halloween season. 10/10 would recommend, 10/10 am currently fuming that we don’t get more seasons.

Content Warning: Suicide, Violence and Gore, Sex and Nudity, Drugs and Alcohol

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