By Rodrigo Ayala Cárdenas
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No matter how many articles comparing them have been published: Dark is not Stranger Things. Dark is simply something completely different from everything else you have seen before, and this is where it excels: it doesn’t try to be like anything else, and it doesn’t try to compete with all the other shows out there. It has created its own universe, its own laws and rules, and its own devices to seduce and impress viewers to their very core. Once you have reached the end, you will not be the same again.
Dark tells the story of a small German town where the disappearance of three kids unleashes an intricate web of secrets. The horror comes from a patch of forest that leads to a series of strange caves that hold three time-traveling portals. For older sci-fi fans or die-hard fans of horror movies and shows, this plot might sound like an old one, but Dark takes these well-known elements and weaves them in a completely new and original way that will surely surprise all viewers. It is not an easy watch, and it is hard to get into the rhythm of the story.
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This is a show that has earned a well-deserved spot among those who like existentialist-based horror, and it is one of the prime examples of a renewed interest in the public for fantastical stories. Dark’s greatest strength is an intelligent plot, which sets it apart from other series.
If you are a fan of all things dark and twisted: Dark is the series you must watch to see how far this genre has come and to witness the strong comeback of this type of show after being left in a dusty drawer for so long.
This is the most complex series you will see in Netflix.
The idea of time traveling is one of the most used plot devices in sci-fi, but it is also one of the most difficult ones to achieve in a way that hasn’t been done before. Dark gets this right by asking a very intriguing question: how does the future affect the past? The philosophical premises of the story have their origins in Nietzsche’s Eternal Return. You have to pay close attention because the symbolism embedded both in the dialogue and the scenes is the clue to understand the plot and the storyline.
The macabre imagery
Not only does it have engaging dialogue and superb acting, but it is also a visual delight. It is the perfect example of how to elicit fear through the storyline, but also with the clever use of atmosphere, something that we have seen in horror-drama Norwegian films such as Låt den rätte komma in (2008, Dir. Tomas Alfredson) or Hour Of The Wolf (1968, Dir. Ingmar Bergman). But there are also nods to modern classics works, such as Twin Peaks, Stranger Things or Lost.
It is not only the creepy time-traveling journeys and children disappearing what makes this show unsettling, but also the setting of the forest, with its caves as portals for time traveling, which makes this space a character on its own right. And let’s not forget the music: it is the perfect soundtrack to create an eerie sensation in the viewer.
The plot is not easy to follow, but it’s very engaging.
We admit this is not a show easy to watch, unlike other, similar shows, that feel relatable and are easy to follow -such as Stranger Things. Dark is definitely weirder, and you have to pay attention to catch the clues and answers hidden in each episode, but this is precisely what makes this an extremely original and fascinating work. It is more similar in this sense to Lost, where each line of dialogue hides clues you had to remember afterwards to reach a conclusion. Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese, Dark’s creators, are true masters at writing this kind of script, and also at making use of the cleverest storytelling devices for TV.
The show uses fantasy to talk about deep existential questions.
The meaning of religion, life, and death are questions and topic that are dealt with throughout the show, and they all lead to reflections on why we act the way we do, and the consequences of our actions. At the intersection of gothic horror, science fiction, and drama, Dark is an intelligent dialogue that will lead you to face the darkness that inhabits inside all of us, and to question the origin of the most unsavory acts we have committed, most of them without a second of regard for how they can negatively affect others.
The good news is that the show’s producers and Netflix have announced the second season for the last months of 2019, and we can’t wait to find out everything that was left unanswered in the first season.
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