Hulu’s Light as a Feather is an intriguing concept but it, unfortunately, drowns itself too much in high school drama.
Hulu is keen to deliver for horror month, which I am sure fans will appreciate. We have been spoilt with Into The Dark, kickstarting a year-long event series, and now we are subjected to a fresh original horror series in Light as a Feather.
Despite the generic high school feel and the lack of mystery, Hulu’s Light as a Feather places enough markers to keep interest. As a horror series, nothing will provide genuine shock value nor will you feel anything close to goosebumps. However, the group of characters add a high dosage of drama, giving viewers a chance to cherry pick certain aspects of the story.
The Hulu drama tells the story of four best friends, partaking in their annual horror mischief. The new girl in the group suggests they play light as a feather, stiff as a board. Light as a Feather reveals that new girl Violet (Haley Ramm) is not normal; in fact, she engages with the audience with her wry smiles and her odd behaviour, so much so that when the camera pans on her and she suggests a new game, it’s understood that the four girls are in deep trouble.
If you are unfamiliar with the game – it involves sitting in a circle with one person in the middle acting dead. Everyone puts their hands on that person and chant “light as a feather, stiff as a board”. There are other variations, however, the theory is that the “dead” person becomes so light they can easily be moved into the air. My cynical mind went mental.
The variation that the new girl Violet (Haley Ramm) suggests is that they describe how that person dies before they chant. Violet gives each girl a story of how they will die, providing a dim resemblance to Final Destination. Violet is not playing this game to make new friends; she is conjuring the way they die. Hulu’s Light as a Feather is a horror series about four girls racing against the clock – ultimately, to figure out Violet’s true nature.
The horror feels strangely secondary in Hulu’s Light as a Feather. There is no point in dwelling on the concept; the bite-sized episodes prefer to give a landscape of the problems surfacing amongst the group of friends. Putting aside the eeriness that Violet presents, the best friends have issues buried away, which comes to light following on from the introduction of Violet.
Like most high school dramas, a group of friends have hidden demons that are not always apparent and are concealed in sneaky conversations ready to unravel at a party. Ironically, as Violet’s game comes into effect, the friendship group begins to fall apart, with secrets pouring out to put the girls at odds with each other. The horror of their fate is in the synergy of the group breaking down, giving the characters a need to comfort each other in time of need.
Light as a Feather spoils you with theatrics at the start but then spends a number of episodes slowing events down. Instead, it revels in the aftermath of a recent tragedy, whilst Violet seemingly gets more suspicious. Light as a Feather would have benefitted in instilling fear in the characters early on, but the series cannot decide what story it wants to tell. Is it a high school drama or a horror event impacting four best friends?
In the end, Hulu’s Light as a Feather is a high school horror, merging generic teenage problems with a seemingly demonic new girl that can articulate the way people die. The Hulu series luckily cast decent performers, because if you strip away the horror, Light as a Feather is not necessarily special or enlightening.
This review is part of our #31DaysofHorror feature which is running all throughout October. Check out the other entries.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.