The Extremely Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

by Meleena Mohammed

 

Netflix reboots a beloved 90s TV Show–Sabrina the Teenage Witch– coming out just in time for Halloween this year. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a Netflix Original, and many are still hesitant to take a crack at it, lest they inadvertently ruin their childhood. But fear not, I am here to give you an honest review, if not a little biased…

The show consists of 10 long episodes, about an hour long each. It starts right away, only two days from Sabrina’s birthday, which just happens to be on Halloween. This Friday means a lot to Sabrina, and establishes the central plot of the show. Am I a witch or a mortal? This is the question she asks herself the whole series and her challenges lie solely in trying to manipulate the natural and supernatural order, of the world to her will. Sabrina never ceases to attempt to have the best of both worlds, and that gets her into loads of trouble.

A bit about Sabrina first if you’re not familiar with the original which this show takes an interesting twist on. Sabrina is a teenage witch, but one fact separates her from the rest— she is half mortal and half witch. Her father was a warlock, and her mother a mere human. Both mysteriously died in a supposed “accident” but there seems to be something darker behind what really took place. Sabrina was then taken in by her aunts— Zelda and Hilda, when she was just a baby; now she lives with them and her cousin Ambrose who has been on house-arrest for 70 years. Since then, she has grown up knowing she had certain powers and that one day she would have to make a choice; but with any good show, the main character has a wild, if not sometimes frustrating, mind of their own.

The source material for the show is derived from Archie Comics and has added its own demonic twist. In some episodes it actually gets pretty intense–images of the Dark Lord, which is essentially the Devil, some bloody scenes involving murder and heavily influenced by dark magic and even darker acts. All of this took me aback the first episode, I was genuinely confused and had to check to see if it was actually TV-14 because it certainly seemed like TV-MA, but it is TV-14…somehow.

The show is extremely dark, let me say this and there is always a dark undertone in most scenes that make viewers feel on edge, inciting the prospect of something deeper and darker at stake.

Filming wise, nearly every scene is shot in dim places or with dark tones and filters. This really adds to the whole effect of the show; the cinematography is pretty great. The editing makes colors like Sabrina’s bright red petticoat symbolic and profound. Very frequently, one effect that is edited in scenes is the slight blurring of the background which may have deeper meaning that you can place yourself. Sound is also very important in this series, especially considering the spells and incantations that are frequently made when spells are being performed. The show is actually made very nicely in terms of film and the acting is even better.

Finally for the cast, one fantastic aspect of this series is the actors and the amount of diversity and representation on it. There are many white characters, but there are also so many black characters and even gay characters, and it’s so nice to see. The actors are also very good at playing their roles and since they aren’t all that well-known, it is easy for the audience to believe that they really are the characters, as they easily slip into the personas.

Overall The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is surprisingly good and well worth the watch, and I can personally say that the show was addicting and I never wanted to stop watching. The plot is well made and there is much more to come despite there are only being 10 episodes. If you like thrilling, dark and intense yet with lots of humor and twists, this should be your next Netflix journey that you embark on. The show is incredibly underrated and not much is being talked about it, but it will always leave you wanting more. Enjoy the ride… it’s dark down there.