How this show keeps getting renewed is anyone’s guess, but the third outing is as bonkers and unbelievable as ever.
This review of Haunted Season 3 is spoiler-free.
I know I’m repeating myself here, but it’s always worth putting a disclaimer out there for when the bizarre commenters who want me to cavort with ghosts turn up. So, firstly, let’s just be clear — I know that most of you lot know that none of this is real. That’s absolutely fine, and I can totally understand why people might enjoy a show like this just for its spooks and stories. Notice I say a show “like” this and not “this show”, since this show is garbage. And part of the reason it’s garbage is because of the insistence that its nutty tales are true.
If Haunted Season 3, which has the exact same format as the first two seasons and the Latin-America spin-off, were a series of horror vignettes rather than ostensibly real-life accounts, it’d still be let down by its writing, acting, and CGI, but it wouldn’t be offensive. As things stand its insistence on being true is either a case of people who require help being exploited or we, the people, being insulted — perhaps even both. It has just always left a sour taste in my mouth that this series tries to convince us that any of this is true and then makes such paltry efforts to prove it. Of course, none of these supernatural shenanigans can be proved, since (in my opinion!) they’re all impossible. But if there was a modicum of effort that’d probably be nice.
Alas, though, there isn’t a modicum of effort to be found anywhere in these latest six episodes, which are at least kind enough to be brief. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single standout episode like the conversation therapy story in the second season, which not only could have been true but probably was. Instead, it’s all nonsense, all the time, even when an episode feels like it might be heading in a more intriguing direction. The premiere looks for a moment as though it might be about religious fundamentalism, for instance, and then quickly pivots into being about a serial killer hillbilly who plays the banjo.
As ever, episodes pluck from a litany of horror cliches — haunted houses, creepy dead girls, demonic pets — to build the re-enactments, while the apparent “victims” sit in a roundtable format and discuss the events with po-faced seriousness. Some are likable, some quite believable, and some… less so. But all are united in the effort to bamboozle a curious audience who are surely smarter than the material. At one point, the producers try to extend the horror to the present-day in-studio discussion by cutting the lights off at a convenient moment. It’s a shameless effort to up the ante that only speaks to how cheaply manufactured and cynical the whole enterprise is. Knowing Netflix, they’ll have greenlit the fourth season already.