This review of the Netflix limited series Devil in Ohio does not contain spoilers.
READ: The ending explained for Devil in Ohio.
It’s extraordinary for Netflix to release this series on Amazon’s launch day The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. I’m not saying that everyone will watch the mentioned series, but the streaming market is so saturated these days that speed is of the essence. Devil in Ohio, a limited run, released with barely a finger lifted, with thinner marketing than usual. Based on the book of the same name by Daria Polatin, the series didn’t stand a fighting chance, which makes it deliberate.
Devil in Ohio follows psychiatrist Dr Suzanne Mathis (played by Emily Deschanel – Animal Kingdom), home to a scheming cult escapee named Mae (played by Madeleine Arthur – To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before), who threatens the safety of her family. Her husband, Peter (played by Sam Jaeger – The Handmaid’s Tale), is a real estate developer with a struggling business. The family is relatively ordinary, but their world is turned upside down with the introduction of Mae. The story comes with mystery and light horror like the world of satanic symbolism, and the religious imagery becomes a terrifying concept.
The premise has everything you would expect. With a few minor twists along the way, Devil in Ohio is a relatively predictable limited series that just stimulate the brain. The horror moments are a bit too soft for what it’s worth, and the twists are predictable.
Teen drama tropes underpin the series. While the trailer and initial premise would like you to think this is some serious horror, you feel like Suzanne’s daughter, Jules Mathis (played by Xaria Dotson), gets meaningfully involved. in her personal life at school, associated with Mae apparently affecting her social life.
That’s not to say the secondary characters aren’t interesting, but something is wrong. The scenes with Suzanne and Mae are far more interesting than the encroaching cult and misfortunes of the other characters. Equally interesting are the scenes showing how Mae’s presence affects their lives. When Devil in Ohio focuses on subplots, it feels like a worded Netflix adaptation.
The series seems to have more promise than it was selling. Without familiarity with the book, it’s hard to make a clear judgment, but the genericness makes it a surface experience, tenacious in intriguing mysteries. The series makes you feel like you’re living a story like Servantbut instead you get a run-of-the-mill horror thriller.
But confusingly worth it. Devil in Ohio isn’t for trash, and there’s a lot to enjoy in the performances, even if the characters could do with more depth. Netflix has put a lot of money into its limited series, but it’s not the best of the bunch.
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You can watch this series with a Netflix subscription.
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