The River (TV Series 2012) Review
From the Director of Paranormal Activity and Producer Steven Spielberg
Yes, it's directed by the same director of Paranormal Activity and yes the shaky camera, documentary style POV shooting is very prevalent in The River. The fact that Spielberg produced it, you can really see how much they spent on the production. It's really so professionally done, in my opinion (not that it's better than cheaper productions, I just think it's so noticeable).
You can really compare it to Paranormal Activity where director Orin Peli didn't really have as much time and resources. Everything from cinematography to editing looks so "cinematic" like it's meant to be on the big screen.
The story begins with a host of an adventure documentary TV show thing, much like Steve Erwin, only the main guy in The River disappears and now his family wants to find him. Problem is there's so much crazy paranormal stuff in the Amazon river and most of them, I am assuming, is deeply rooted on local folklore and culture. It's common for tropical areas for people to have stories about different kinds of creatures/spirits in the jungle.
The Paranormal and Loopholes
It does get quite scary at times. They're really good at the execution and horror techniques. Even when the graphics aren't that realistic (I am a bit cynical with any thing CGI because my eyes can really tell that it's just CGI and it ruins everything). They don't really deal with the typical ghosts/monsters we know. Some of the legends they deal with are really creepy and bothering.
I'm actually really starting to like this show. Aside from the thousands of loopholes I can think of (although the show deals mostly with the paranormal so I can't really complain), one of the main things that bother is me is how none of them really care about what happened.
Like after one episode, they continue to the other as if nothing happened. No one goes "hey, remember last episode we saw this weird creature/spirit thing we should get out of here we might be going crazy". But I guess these people are somewhat trained for crazy stuff since they used to make jungle documentaries but I don't think any sort of sane mind will be strong enough to not question reality after seeing paranormal phenomena. Many times, I'm just begging already for anyone to talk about the elephant in the room that they just witnessed some crazy stuff that's way beyond all of their experience or expectations (except that weird Spanish-speaking girl).
I also don't know the time of the setting is because I was thinking they can probably edit on the boat already and send the video by satellite or something for the whole world to see their crazy adventures already.
I won't really expound since I don't want to give out any kind of spoilers for those of you who have not seen the show.
Similarities to Lost
One reason I really like it is perhaps it reminds me of the TV series Lost (which was actually made by ABC as well). If the who wasn't called "The River" I'd instantly assume that the show is shot in Hawaii but surely it's shot in the Amazon. I'll admit, Lost really crossed the line between science fiction and paranormal many times (too many if you ask me), especially towards the end. The son of the missing guy actually looks a lot like Sawyer combined with Charlie (characters from Lost).
The River TV Series Review
I do recommend it. I mean, I'm not over the top obsessed with it like I am with some other shows I like but it's something that's surely worth checking out. I actually love it that I discovered it only now cause at least I get to marathon the show instead of all the others I'm watching right now where I have to wait one by one every week.
The premise of the story is pretty original, if you ask me. A lot can happen for all the 8 episodes produced for season 1. It can get very interesting or it could also get overly far-fetched and ridiculous. I'm actually about to watch episode 4 right now after writing this and I'm quite hooked. My recommendation: yes, check it out. There is magic out there.