TV TV Reviews

Review | Lore

TitleLore
Season1
No. of episodes6
NetworkAmazon
Air DateOctober 13, 2017

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What’s this?

Before becoming a horror anthology TV series, Lore was an award-winning podcast hosted by Aaron Mahnke. Lore traces our nightmares all the way back to their roots, giving us an in-depth look at how these horrific monsters came to be. Each episode focuses solely on one specific mythological tale of the macabre. They are each equal parts grim and interesting. From lobotomies all the way to a possessed doll, Aaron (as monotone as humanly possible) narrates how they came to be and why we fear them, all the while having these stories play out on your screen in the form of short films. If you’re a fan of the podcast, this seems to be the missing link. Watching these stories play out is something just listening can’t quite match.

Is it animated or is Lore live-action?

Glad you asked that, Josh.

It happens to be both, but more live-action than animated. Nonetheless, it expertly uses animation to show scenes they can’t quite get without going overboard budget-wise, or that otherwise might seem out of place. However, these depictions are actually quite fantastic to watch. For example, watching St. Patrick be surrounded by werewolves in simple sketches, you can see the fear on his face and, in turn, feel afraid for him. It’s really remarkable how their use of animation makes you feel incredibly uneasy in essentially every episode.

Furthermore, it also helps decipher what is part of the main story and what isn’t. While Aaron gives you origins of whatever that episode happens to be about, he also often goes off on tangents quite a bit to explain certain aspects of the story that aren’t fully covered in the shorts themselves. For example, in the episode “Black Stockings”, “faerie rings” are often mentioned by the characters without explanation. That’s where Aaron and a seriously demented Bob Ross clone who works at Hot Topic or something come in, giving us, the people, what we need, when we need it. God bless you, Hot Topic Bob Ross.

Ok, cool, but what about the acting?

Honestly, I wish it was as strong as the aforementioned animation. With only two “big name” actors in their cast, it leaves a lot to be desired. However, some episodes are stronger than others in regards to its acting, particularly the final episode. I watched it when it was released to the world a month ago and still think about it daily. That’s how ingrained it is in my brain. I’m not really complaining, either. I just don’t really like thinking about a weird sailor doll anymore than I have to. I don’t need that in my life. Nor do you. We’re in this together.

Anyway, not all of their live-action scenes happen to be acting. They make use of a lot of real-life footage in the stories that only add to the overall disturbing atmosphere of each episode. In fact, one episode happened to feature footage of the Son of Sam killer, which was bone chilling, yet fascinating all at the same time.

At times I wished each episode was animated with some minor use of real-life footage. That’s where it really shined. No one’s winning a best actor Emmy here. Sorry, Robert Patrick (Terminator 2… T-1000. tThere, I saved you a google search.) That being said, the costume work and overall production are absolutely top notch. Their ability to jump in time from episode to episode is seamless, and each episode feels like they put their soul into it, which actually is how I felt about the podcast. I would put the sets they recreate up against any series on television right now.

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How scary is Amazon’s Lore?

Again, keep in mind that the stories being told to us are where our nightmares originate. When I wrote that last part about Robert being a weird sailor doll, I had to full on stop afterwards and wonder if he has internet access and will possibly see me dragging him online. I sure hope not because I have bad luck enough as it is. Although, a) he’s a100-year-old doll, therefore he has no fingers to type and kung-fu grip was not invented until at least the 60’s-70’s; b) who searches for themselves online? Sorry, needed to combat the thoughts and be rational about this for a moment.

Back to the point, it’s not gory like SAW, it’s not jumpy like Paranormal Activity. It’s 100% truth and sometimes that’s even more frightening than the stories we come up with ourselves. It’s a different kind of scare really. After each episode you kind of have to sit there and realize these things really happened and that’s as unsettling as it gets. All of this coupled with Aaron Mahnke’s soothing robot voice (seriously, if Barry White ever became a robot in, like, the 50’s when voice replication probably wasn’t that great, it would sound like Aaron) and a soundtrack that I can only describe as “someone googled how to make scary music, got 0 results, and then winged it,” you get a pretty spooky learning session on how a guy with a sinister as hell goatee started doing lobotomies, and what “saved by the bell” truly means.

Hint: it has nothing to do with high school in the 90’s.

Is there any hope for a second season?

In my honest opinion, I would have to say yes. Amazon is fighting with the likes of Hulu and Heavyweight Champion of the World, Netflix. They need the quality content to stay afloat. And with the popularity of the podcast, this is sure to be a hit for those of you who are fans.

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Recommendation?

Lore successfully transfers over to the small screen and was incredibly interesting and visually impressive. Some episodes stand out above the rest, although the margin of difference is actually quite wide. However, the great thing about Lore, and horror in general, is it totally depends on what scares you the most. While “Echoes” and “We Made a Tonic” didn’t particularly scare me and seemed to drag on, even feeling boring at times, others with a real fear of these things on screen will find it much more terrifying than I. Moreover, when Aaron is on his game and really starts to uncover the horrifying truth, it can lead to things, such as a boy and his favourite doll, that you won’t forget anytime soon.

Enjoyed reading this review? Then you will probably like listening to us too, so check out our podcast below.

Lore Season 1

Lore Season 1
8.1

Plot

8.5/10

Writing

9.0/10

Direction

8.0/10

Performances

5.0/10

Production

10.0/10

Pros

  • Animation is amazing.
  • Stories are genuinely scary at times, and quite interesting.
  • Aaron does great research.
  • Costume and set design are top notch.
  • Robert will forever haunt me.

Cons

  • Acting is sub-par.
  • Some episodes are significantly weaker than others.
  • Stories tend to drag on because of weaker material.
  • Robert will forever haunt me.
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