New! My first Review of The Returned/Les Revenants Channel 4 UK Sundays @ 9pm 1st episode:Warning-spoilers-posted today, 10th June 2013

Camille is in the coach, her teacher handing out question sheets.  The coach veers off an empty lane.

 A butterfly pinned on a wall starts fluttering and a little Camille climbs back up over the crash barrier..starts walking down the high and desolate curving road above the village that we see twinkling & jewel like at the bottom of the valley, below…

Nb. All the (TV) Advertisements are French! and somehow seem highly amusing.

Its proper scary.  Even the music that one of the characters is playing is scary.

Its photographed really beautifully.  All the interiors are gloomy.  The corridors are semi-lit and lights blink on and off.  The town,  appearing from it’s twinkling lights at night like Heidi’s home from the Heidi books.   Way back when Heidi lived in a Swiss forest with her grand-parents and her beloved cows.

In spite of all this at night in daylight the town looks murky and dangerous when we see the underground subway walk that people go through.

 So on top of all the dead kids returning from the mountainside we have a choppy as in jaggedly stabbing & horrible murder happen right in front t of our eyes.  The murder of a previously jaunty young girl, skipping expertly and beautiful down the subway steps.gee, thanks, I know the review mentions murder however I wasn’t ready for that.

  First we see & hear the girl struggle and fight back, then out of sight, then we are subject to watching the murderer’s horrific tenderness as he verbally soothes the still living young teenager as he repeatedly stabs her viscously in the stomach.

 We are treated to a further close up of her abandoned & dead, spread eagle on the subway ground.  An outrageous gaping hole in her stomach waist wards.
 (her beautiful white floaty dress now a bloodstained rag)

Her assailant is hooded and stary eyed homeless, we presume.  Or was he?  I didn’ t really want to think about the murder any more being pretty much all murdered out.  I was prepared for zombies but not really that.

The Returned was certainly stunning an apparition to view.  All sombre colours of acid yellow and burnt ochre, bottle green, dull greys and browns.

The characters were all good too. believable in their semi-silence and grief.  They all react differently to the sight of the living, breathing apparition and real presence of their once dead families.

Possibly the old man’s reaction of complete horror protecting the young Doctor/Nurse and then proceeding to attempt to burn alive his returning zombie daughter is actually the most natural and reasonable reaction.

It is those parents who staringly accept in silence, hug and weep who are truly weird.  Why on earth are they being so calm about it we wonder?  because they are in shock and they wanna believe.  Because it’s real and they know it and there’s nowt much else they can do.  But stand and stare silently, semi-open mouthed.

Then there is the weird cause of the coach crash:a telepathically twin (I’m assuming) induced (near) orgasm from her twin sister back home.  Oh & don’t forget the added apparition of the young boy on the road. it was Camille and him.  Had Camille & her twin Lena swapped places?  Possibly on that day…

***
All in all i felt cheated, wronged & dirtied somehow from watching The Returned. Not by any of its visual beauty, impossible to beat small town French chic, mais non.  None of that.  I like all that.

I feel cheated, wronged & dirtied by being the semi-forced voyeur to an horrific, sadistic and psychotic murder.  Forced is perhaps harsh.  There was a warning of violece bla bla but we’re so used to those now they barely register.

Nobody physically forced me to watch this scene,granted.  Yet it was too late to leave by the time i realised how serious & realistic a scene it was.  In its depiction of a brutal frenzied murder.

Gee, thanks programme makers. I’ve made the conscious decision, a while ago now to stop watching Criminal Minds, C.S.I, of any kind, in fact most murder mysteries since except for the Scandinavian ones and then i always look away at the gory bits and dead bodies.

 However I don’t remember a depiction of a live as in ongoing murder.  like a guide to murder video!  Err.  I think I’d remember that.

So yeah, somewhat sick in my book, the intensity & its portrayal of a woman’s murder.  Yet another woman.  & yet another preternaturally grown up in ways & look heroine who is actually prepubescent. Gee, that’s a new one-not.  Does drama ever drop its fascination these days for this group of questionably aged meaning young, girls?

I give you the embarrassingly exploitative fake orgasm the young girl emits on the bus.  Way to go series writers.  Its been a while since when Harry Met Sally.  How, um, artistic is it?  For this to arise out of a young teenager’s mouth?
You tell me.

So it takes us , for me anyway, a while to figure out that Camille is the twin sister of Lena.

 Oh and i found the little boy proper scary at one point when he seemed to give the Nurse the evil eye and she obeyed him.  Or i may just have seen too many vampire series.  Yes, my feeling was that she saw he was evil & was frightened & gave into him.. Whether she was brainwashed or hypnotised I’m not sure.

Later it seemed to me like she acted like she felt she might have imagined it & he was only a little boy after all..He proper creeped me out though..Damien, tick, Dwarf in Don’t Look Now, & at least one other film.

Also, & i have the Guardian Review & Forum to thank for this: Some of the Returned dead people are from somewhere other than the crash site.  & opinion is varied as to whether the elderly white haired man, Costa tied up his daughter, or his wife, to burn..

People have mentioned the music.  I found the music scare as was the show.  The music was depressing and so was the show.  They never, like never, turn the lights on..
Will i keep watching it?  You bet.  do i find it really scary?  Yep.

The Returned is a little kitchen sink as in it has thrown everything but the kitchen sink in:
-Let The Right One In, scene in the subway when vampire attacks, check.
-The killing remake  & Hatifum/Prisoners of Wart:parents & parents’ groups grieving over children.  check or tick the box.

-The X-files?
-Twin Peaks?
-David Lynch:strange & unexplained goings on, as in zombies having normal human form and eating food.
Sets:not comparable.  As in David Lynch’s sets being incomparable.

Then we have every small town situated movie.  Where everybody knows everybody else and people might really say:
“You’re not from round here, are you?”
(well in dramas they do)

These things increase the horror quotient somehow, making things all the more claustrophobic perhaps. So all the ingredients here it would seem for a good ‘Ole fashioned full blown horror movie with an ensemble cast just assembled.
If it all starts getting too terminally depressing & there’s too much more chopped up women in it then i’m out.  Call it too many dead ladies.
***

Hey, what if its all OK really & poor Lucy(according to the Guardian forum) who got chopped up isn’t really dead but returns?

Because in a review about the first episode of The Returned there is a picture of a girl kneeling by a lake,  her white floaty dress spread to the side and around her.  With a big red gash in her side.  So maybe if you touch the water, fall into the lake, drink it, i dunno, you come back alive?  & her gaping wounds will go?  Who know, Could be though…

Me i’m in for the ride, will hope for not too many more murders.If so then where is the eponymous Detective?  Not sure i want Detective on top of zombies.  its’ all too cliche up on cliche.  we will have to wait and see.

I have to keep reminding myself its France, the countryside, not Switzerland.  Since i had the idea of Heidi’s little Swiss idyll in the mountainside again, i couldn’t let i go.

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