The Strain Season One
Slipping some tongue
Release Date: 15 December
2014 | 15 | 946 minutes | Blu- ray/ DVD Creators: Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan Cast: Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Mía Maestro, Kevin Durand, Sean Astin,
Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel
Toro has no truck with angst- ridden, romantic Byronic vampires. Mere fangs don’t float his boat either. If he’d been asked to direct a Twilight film, Edward Cullen would probably have looked like Nosferatu with a meat grinder for a mouth. In Blade 2, he gave us vampire hybrids that had monstrously-elongated maws. With The Strain – based on a book series he wrote with Chuck Hogan – the vamps have long prehensile tongues to do the sucking. And very disturbing they are too.
The bulk of the vampires in The Strain are like a virus, slowly turning New York into a dystopian nightmare of blood- sucking zombies. Combatting them are a motley team that includes a scientist from the Center for Disease Control ( CDC), a laconic ratcatcher and a veteran vampire hunter. Their problems are exacerbated by the fact that an intelligent vampire elite – which has inveigled its way into positions of power – is in control and coordinating the infestation, paving the way for domination.
It’s not the most original show on TV, and suffers from some downright dull character building in the early episodes – it needs to establish that its lead is a workaholic, failing father in a couple of brief scenes, not over three episodes. It doesn’t help that Corey Stoll, as CDC boffin “Eph” Goodweather, is a bland lead.
But it regularly serves up quite brilliant, full- on gore and horror, sometimes dripping in black humour, other times just incredibly intense. Kevin Durand gets the best lines as Vasily, the Rambo of vermin exterminators, while David Bradley is perfect as grizzled hunter Setrakian.
It’s no Walking Dead; The Strain is strictly for horror fans, with limited crossover appeal. But if you like a bit of inventive yuck, it’s quality inventive yuck.
Extras: Three featurettes: “In the Beginning” ( 14 minutes); “A Novel Approach” ( nine minutes), about adapting the books for TV; and “Setrakian’s Lair” ( nine minutes) in which actor David Bradley provides a tour of his character’s lair. Dave Golder The Strain was originally planned as a TV series, not a book trilogy, but the network del Toro pitched it to wanted him to make it a comedy.
Some people struggle to let go of Halloween.