With a genre-changing story and a combination of gore, jump scares and frightening action, Channel Zero ends on a high, closing out this incredible horror anthology based on internet creepypastas in the best way possible.
The best horror show you’ve never heard of, Channel Zero, returns for its fourth and final bloody season: The Dream Door. With a genre-changing story and a combination of gore, jump scares and frightening action, Channel Zero ends on a high, closing out this incredible horror anthology based on internet creepypastas in the best way possible.
While the first couple of episodes play on the psychological, creepy horror the show has always been known for, the rest of the episodes slowly evolve into an action-driven slasher thanks to the creepy and frightening portrayal of this season’s antagonist, Pretzel Jack. This nightmarish creature spawns from the basement of newlywed couple Jillian (Maria Sten) and Tom (Brandon Scott) when they uncover a mysterious door that appears overnight. What transpires is a bloody, desperate scramble to figure out what’s going on and just what this creature is while it leaves a trail of destruction in its wake as it stalks the couple.
For the most part, The Dream Door does well to nestle itself between some of the better stories told in this anthology series, boasting that familiar sense of dread and tension that’s evident in the other seasons too. Long, drawn-out shots help to build the atmosphere with the discordant, unsettling score kicking in everytime Pretzel Jack appears on screen, stealing the limelight.
This maniacal contortionist clown is by far the highlight of the series, somehow managing to balance incredulous hilarity with outright terror. One early example sees it stabbing a helpless victim over 30 times before standing up, hands in the air, walking sideways out the door with a prideful grin on its face, hands slapping the top of the doorframe. It’s such a surreal and surprisingly well-worked move and it could so easily have offset the balance of the series, but Dream Door pulls scenes like this off to perfection time and time again.
Unlike previous seasons, The Dream Door reinvents itself partway through its 6 episode runtime, evolving from the standard psychological horror it sets itself up as into a much more action-driven thriller as the season draws to a close. This works well, mainly due to the performances of both Jillian and Tom, who balance out the show perfectly as the fractured couple dealing with marital issues rife with deep-rooted secrets and a troubled past. This is all manifested through the imaginative concept coupled with the blend of horror and character drama that, for the most part, works well to drive the narrative forward.
While some shows have a tendency to continue way past the time they should have bowed out on a high, Channel Zero is a show that has maintained a consistent quality across all four seasons and never looks like running out of steam. The anthology format works well and there’s a rare quality to a lot of these stories that make them engaging, chilling and worthy of its place as one of the best horror series out there. It’ll be a shame to see this under-rated show finish, but The Dream Door is a fantastic end to an anthology that’s consistently impressed and deserves a larger audience than the niche cult it’s acquired over the years.
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