I have not yet finished season 1 of The Strain so this will not be a review of the full season, this is just me telling you about a show that is on my radar at the moment. There is also the fact that Halloween is coming up and many of you may be looking for something creepy to get you in the mood. Well I am here to tell you that The Strain is that TV show.
The Strain would make perfect viewing for a dark October night, possibly not for Halloween night itself but in the run up The Strain is the perfect show if you are looking for a little creepiness. With its mix of virus based body horror and zombie/vampire elements the show keeps you guessing at every turn. The unpredictable nature of The Strain is one of the reasons it is so good at fulfilling its purpose, a horror movie or TV show fails if at any point you find yourself knowing what is coming next. It is a universally accepted fact that the greatest fear is the fear of the unknown. This is actually an element of the plot, it is a mystery to the characters as to the true nature of the virus and what it is capable of.
The Strain utilises the fear of the unknown to great effect, the producers are aware that what we can conjure up in our mind will always be much scarier than anything they can feasibly create with CGI, which is why certain things in the show are often left to the imagination. For example a scene I believed was shot particularly classy was the scene in the first episode where the creature under the hooded cloak first appears. That scene is brutal and unnerving, especially due to the fact that we cannot completely see the monster. Everything the viewer sees makes their imagination run wild as they try to piece together tiny clues and devise their own theories, based on such things as the way the monster moves as it escapes.
Creepiness aside The Strain is also incredibly brave, for a show on network TV it is incredibly violent and gory, some scenes are genuinely grotesque. The scene that comes to mind as particularly uncomfortable is the scene in the morgue where all of the infected corpses begin to stand up and attack the worker there. The special effects are spectacular in these areas, the handling of the more fantastical elements of the show is intelligent, creating genuinely frightening visuals that stay with you as much as the plot.