Some good ideas and effective chills aside, Netflix’s new Indian horror series is spread a little thin, losing some steam as it goes along.
Indian Netflix series Typewriter season 1 was released on Netflix on July 19, 2019.
As easy and as apt as it might be to compare the new Indian Netflix Original Series Typewriter to the streaming giant’s own mega-hit Stranger Things, the comparison might not be too useful. This new horror-tinged five parter created, written and directed by Sujoy Ghosh draws some influence from it, but so too from many other sources, including Amblin’s 80s output, those dog-eared adventure serials, Scooby-Doo, and India’s popular crime Original Series Sacred Games — the list goes on.
That range of influences makes for a range of tones, too, which is one of the issues with Typewriter Season 1. Another is that it doesn’t have enough good ideas — either for new concepts or the execution of overly familiar ones — to sustain itself across an entire season, meaning that later episodes tend to get a bit wearing. But the appeal in the core idea is still there, and it’ll find both cross-generational and cross-cultural audiences, providing its moments of shock and gore aren’t too offputting for the younger set.
The kids — and their doggo companion — are at the heart of Typewriter Season 1; a self-styled “Ghost Club” of paranormal investigators whose attentions fall on the Bardez Villa, a mysterious, rackety old mansion — and a set built with impressive intricacy — where an enigmatic, occultist author wrote many of his books on an old Remington typewriter. A new family moves in with potential connections to the author, the house, and the book he died while writing: The Ghost of Sultanpore, which also provides the title for the third episode.
Some occasional subversions of played-out tropes — zigging when a zag is expected, using daylight rather than darkness, and using the jump-scare set-up for a punchline — help to keep Typewriter Season 1 fresh-feeling for a good while. But eventually what it’s doing becomes more obvious and less enjoyable, despite a game, likable cast helping things along. It’s a respectable show, but hardly the Indian answer to Stranger Things, which is how it has been billed in some quarters. Still, those looking for some scares this weekend should look no further — just don’t look so hard that you spot the seams.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.