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“Servant” Season 2 Trailer Serves up a Pernicious Platter

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Apple TV+ have finally unleashed a trailer to reveal the ingredients that promise to spicen up the spooky in the now infamous Philly brownstone where virtually the entire series of “Servant” has taken place so far.

Executive produced by Academy Award-nominated director M. Night Shyamalan, the ten-episode second season is all set to premiere around the world on Apple TV+ with the first episode hitting this January 15, 2021, followed by new episodes weekly, every Friday.

Following its suspenseful season one finale, the second season takes a supernatural turn with a darker future for all lying ahead as Leanne returns to the brownstone and her true nature is revealed.

The cast of “Servant” including Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, Nell Tiger Free and Rupert Grint will all reprise their characters for the second season.

“Servant” is created by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts nominated executive producer and writer Tony Basgallop. In addition to Shyamalan and Basgallop, “Servant” is executive produced by Ashwin Rajan, Jason Blumenthal, Todd Black and Steve Tisch. Taylor Latham and Patrick Markey serve as co-executive producers.

If you have yet to see the show or fancy jogging you memory before “Servant” returns in on January 15, all episodes of Season 1 are available now on the Apple TV app with an Apple TV+ subscription: https://apple.co/_Servant

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Features

FrightFest 2019 Review: The Wind

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In this supernatural western set in the 1800s, a young woman is haunted by her past and, possibly, a demon while she reminisces about times gone by while her husband is away.

Directed by Emma Tammi, The Wind is an assured debut and, although it may not be so admired by those that like their horror more extreme, it is a welcome difference from popular modern horrors like It, Annabelle and Pet Sematary. Tammi follows in the footsteps of directors like Robert Eggers and Ari Aster, preferring her horror to stand the test of time, rather than embrace short and sweet moments of shock.

This is certainly a horror film more reminiscent of The Witch than The Conjuring, so don’t expect there to be jump scares galore on anything extremely, overtly frightening. This film’s horror lies in its eerie atmosphere and the sense of loneliness that is felt by Lizzy Macklin (Caitlin Gerard). Her isolation is filled with dread as there is literally nobody around. She can scream and run, but there’s no one here to help her. It’s immediately, easily scary to place yourself in her position and imagine what you would do if your husband disbelieved your fears that feel so real.

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It’s a slow-burning, complex horror-drama that weaves seamlessly between the past and present as Lizzy remembers her time spent with the pregnant Emma (Julia Goldani Telles) whilst she is alone. She is soon haunted by whispering voices that travel on the wind and begins to believe there is a demon after her. The film’s moments of physical terror are quite impressive, feeling like a welcome explosion in the film’s subtle darkness. A moment with the reverend is a stand-out; if a little over-the-top for a film that has been so consistently slow and steady.

It’s all set to a score that is wonderfully menacing and puts a horrifying twist on the music typically heard in westerns. The desolate landscape becomes drenched by sinister strings that heighten the film’s suspense, perfectly mimicking Lizzy’s descent into possible madness. Her journey is an emotional and heart-felt one, ultimately portraying a woman’s fight to be believed and Gerard does well to embody the necessary amount of emotion and strength needed to convey such an important character.

The Wind is a worthy take on western-horror, but my main fear is that it is overall rather forgettable. It doesn’t quite manage to pack the long-standing and chilling punch that it so admirably tries to land and doesn’t hit the horrifying heights of the aforementioned The Witch or Ari Aster’s efforts with Hereditary and Midsommar. The Wind is a spooky 80 minutes, but it eventually succumbs to cliched horror tropes and that prevents it from being truly significant.

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Reviews

Arrow FrightFest 2019 Review: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

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Andre Ovredal (Trollhunter, The Autopsy of Jane Doe) cements his place as one of the finest horror directors of the moment with his thrilling, fun and rather creepy adaptation of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

Based on the books from the ‘80s and ‘90s, a group of teens discover a book of horror tales in a supposedly haunted house. They’ve been written by the long-since deceased Sarah Bellows, whose life and death are shrouded in mystery and myth. Whatever happened, it’s clear that something dark went down when she died. When her terrifying stories start to come alive the teens must band together to piece the petrifying puzzle together, hopefully preventing the fictional nightmares from becoming even more real.

Thanks to Ovredal’s attraction to atmospheric scares over studio-favourited jumps, the scary stories are brought to life in a vivid and spooky fashion. It’s Goosebumps amped up to 100, where we have a nostalgia trip that’s a thrill, but the terror here is certainly not always family-friendly. As seen in his painfully tense The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Ovredal perfects a use of petrifying slow-pace to build up the tension. Silence dominates to let the audience’s imagination run riot: When will the scare happen? Now? Now..? Oh shit, it’s now. A bedroom scene especially makes for anxious viewing, so look out for that one.

A couple of scenes will stick with you after the credits roll; I, for one, think scarecrows are terrifying, so there’s a segment here that’s particularly nightmare-inducing. Also, when was the last horror feature about scarecrows? We need more of those, please. If you hate hospitals, cornfields, weird smiling ladies or being chased by old men who lose their heads, then something here will certainly get you sweating. The scares are creative and fun; the film plays out like a haunted house of horrors. You’ll be glad to reach the end, but the journey was mostly heart-racing and entertaining.

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Producer Guillermo del Toro’s keen hand for horror aesthetics can be felt across Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, where the on-screen frights within friendship are complimented by gorgeous, haunting visuals. The house itself is draped in cobwebs and shadowy corners, wonderfully reminiscent of gothic horror tales; Dracula could have easily made himself at home here.

There are some un-welcome/welcome (delete as you see appropriate) comedic dips in the horror that are understandably inserted. Come on, it’d get too dark if it was as relentless as I’d have made it. (Muahaha!). Gabriel Rush and Austin Zajur’s Auggie and Chuck offer some of the best comedic relief with witty one-liners, but Zoe Margaret Colletti’s Stella Nicholls is the film’s most important character. She’s the star of the show; an intelligent, horror fan who stands on her own two feet. She’s no damsel in distress and another character example of how horror is the perfect genre for strong women.

The pace weakens in the middle and I did find myself wondering how long could possibly be left – the runtime edges unnecessarily close to the 2-hour mark – but, the stories themselves and the scares that surround them are a treat, even when everything around them starts to feel tiresome. Scary Stories… would have benefited from tighter editing and a loss of around 20-minutes, to prevent those more humdrum moments.

All in all, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is great fun for all ages, which is a rarity and should be appreciated. If you’re not fed-up of riding the nostalgia train with films like It and Netflix’s Stranger Things, then you’re sure to have fun with this ’80s homage to spooky stories and the monsters within them.

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