Much like the first season of Channel Zero, No-End House starts out strongly and features an intriguing premise, but unlike last year, does feel like it fizzles out before the end, ending on a whimper rather than a bang.
The first season of Channel Zero made for a pleasantly surprising show. The well-written script featured some genuinely unnerving scenes that solidified its place as a decent horror that did justice to its source material – creepypastas (internet short stories). The second season wastes no time sinking its teeth into a brand new plot, this time revolving around a strange haunted house aptly named The No-End House. Much like the first season, No-End House starts out strongly and features an intriguing premise, but unlike last year, does feel like it fizzles out before the end, ending on a whimper rather than a bang.
The story begins swiftly, introducing us to main character Margot (Amy Forsyth) and the concept of The No-End House. Still reeling from the death of her father, Margot, along with a group of her friends including best friend Jules (Aisha Dee), are enticed by this new attraction that’s strangely appeared in town with no explanation for its origin and decide to check it out. Once they arrive, they go inside and decide to see if they can survive the 6 rooms which each promise to be more terrifying and horrific than the room before. With the knowledge that no one has been seen again if they reach the 6th room, the stage is set for an interesting test of survival as the friends tackle the horrors lurking within the house. The plot is well written, with enough twists and turns to keep the concept fresh, but in many ways, it does feel like the story runs dry before the ending which feels a little lacklustre compared to last season.
One of the best things about the first season was the use of unsettling imagery and practical effects to emphasise the horror elements. Thankfully, the second season builds on this and although a lot of the horror comes from the characters and the performances between the actors instead, when the disturbing imagery is shown its done to great effect and certainly induces a good level of dread. The musical score helps of course, with low thrums of bass and unsettling piano keys complimenting the imagery. There’s certainly a good dose of creativity thrown in this season too, with a fascinating insight into the horrors lurking in the house, and it’s here that the art department really comes into their own which is great to see.
The No-End House also benefits from a larger cast this time around and better chemistry between the actors. Margot is effective in her role as the damaged protagonist and seeing her internal struggle through the season is believable and endearing enough to keep you rooting for her throughout. Although some of the supporting cast feel lacklustre and a little two dimensional in their roles, The Father (John Carroll Lynch) does a great job portraying his role with an aura of danger whenever he shows up, helping to disguise some of these frailties. His chemistry opposite Margot is the driving force of the season and together they help drive the plot forward at a decent pace.
The niggling feeling that The No-End House could have benefited from a tightly refined ending like the first season is hard to ignore though. The acting is certainly an improvement this time around, with increased emphasis on the characters rather than the overarching mystery. The concept of the house is interesting and there’s a good aura of intrigue and weariness around what this means for the characters throughout the six episodes as they try and survive the horrors lurking in the house. Although the second season excels in some areas, it also stumbles in others. Whilst its arguably just as good as the first season, the ending does hold the second season back from being as good as the first and the lack of characterisation early on makes it difficult to empathise with anyone other than Jules and Margot. Its great horror TV though and with an easily digestible six episodes, Channel Zero is one of the better showings from Syfy and well worth a watch.