UK/US Now streaming on Shudder Showrunner Graham Reznick Cast Hannah Gross, Evan Gamble, Tracy Perez, Dohn Norwood
Anyone in the Venn diagram intersection of “vinyl junkie”, “HP Lovecraft fan” and “digs a Twin Peak vibe” will find this Shudder Original worth cueing up for a spin.
It follows Etta Pryce (Hannah Gross), who’s hired to track down the Lytton Lacquer, a test pressing reputed to cause the death of anyone who listens to it. Along the way she teams up with cop Len Perry (Evan Gamble), horribly affected after catching a snatch of the record’s runout groove (or “deadwax”).
Writer/director/co-editor/ sound designer/caterer (probably) Graham Reznick knows his onions when it comes to this subculture, making smart use of things like matrix numbers and stirring in concepts from the sphere of sonic weaponry to explore the idea of realms existing beyond normal human comprehension, rather in the vein of Stuart Gordon’s 1986 flick From Beyond. Cool score, too.
However, it’s hard to care about the cold fish Pryce’s commitment issues. The series can look cheap (with, say, dark empty rooms standing in for a police station). Key moments fail to land because the characters under-react. Flickering lights are over-used (no wonder there’s an epilepsy seizure warning). And aside from the all-flashback part four, it feels like a two-hour feature chopped up into chunks of 11-18 minutes. Ian Berriman