This School Tales the Series season 1 review is spoiler-free. You can check out all of our coverage on this show by clicking on these words.
Horror always lends itself well to an anthology format. There’s something malleable about the genre that works like a buffet; here’s a ghost story to begin with, followed by a bit of demonic possession and a slight portion of monstrous madness. You can have a curse here and a witch there without anything feeling too out of place. Such things are never consistent, pretty much by design, but they are almost always interesting.
School Tales The Series, a new Thai horror anthology currently streaming on Netflix, is quite interesting. It’s also, like most anthologies, a mixed bag, with notable highs and clear lows. But the clue is in the title. The “school tales” involve a continuity of setting, and although they are eight separate 50-minute stories, they are all united by similar backgrounds and themes, characters of similar age and overlapping ideas. There are pros and cons to the approach. Most of us were sick of school before we left, after all.
First, the good sides. It is always worth remembering how many resonant and crucial themes are clustered in our school years – bullying, sexuality, self-acceptance, academic pressure, etc. These are all compelling angles to approach horror from, and as is often the case, school tales is good at developing social horror far more terrifying than anything supernatural. When the supernatural elements appear, they are usually treated with a bit of restraint. Whether for budgetary reasons – I suspect – or stylistic choice, most of the bloodshed here happens off-screen, or is at least glimpsed in the gaps between the curtains or as shadows cast so disturbing against the walls.
That said, however, there are only so many social media influencers I can tolerate, and you can feel the anthology using livestream and group chats and as a crutch. There’s also a valid argument to be made about the general predictability of many of its stories and the overall familiarity of its horror devices. There’s nothing wrong with reusing old ideas, of course, especially if they were good, to begin with, but it helps if there’s something new in the writing or character department, and it rarely are there.
Not to underestimate things, of course. Most stories are good. Only one, a bizarre fifth episode that’s essentially a comedy, stands out as a legitimate anomaly. For others, the mileage will vary, but there’s a decent amount of visually nasty beats and twists to keep a viewer engaged, although fewer episodes or shorter runtimes would have been to the benefit of the series. It’s a good diversion for genre fans, at the very least.
You can stream School Tales The Series Season 1 exclusively on Netflix.
School Tales The Series Season 1 Review – A Mixed Thai Anthology appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.