The Strain – Preview by Mary Donnelly
Stars: Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Mía Maestro
Tonight marks the premiere of the Strain on UK/Irish television – that is, tv for those who have a Sky box! It is an adaptation of a trilogy of novels by horror-meister Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Having seen the first ten episodes I can recommend it as officially worth a watch. It begins with a nod to Dracula but instead of a ghost ship, a plane lands in New York, all passengers seemingly deceased, the CDC are sent in to investigate and thus we are thrown into a world of a fast moving vampire plague spread by threadworms burying into eyeballs and mutating hosts into vampire/zombie mutants. As with all Del Toro’s work he doesn’t shy from showing it all and these are some truly disgusting vampires – they attack by vomiting a projectile tentacle with sucker out of their mouths. Other highlights include the protracted transformations of the early victims including lots of bits dropping off. The special effects and frankly gleeful depictions of gore make up for ropey dialogue and some dodgy acting although there are notable exceptions to the latter including the always brilliant David Bradley as Abraham Setrakian, kick ass concentration camp survivor/vampire killer and Richard Sammel as Thomas Eichorst, former Nazi and vampire second in command. The episodes vary in quality but mostly keep you hooked. They are at their best when they avoid the character drama and focus on the action, one of my favourites being a John Carpenter style siege set in a gas station. We have so far only been given hints of the vampire master plan and have been teased by some interesting subplots so I think there is plenty of mileage left in this particular show.
The Strain starts tonight (17th September) on Watch http://watch.uktv.co.uk/shows/the-strain/