What a wonderfully unsettling, mind-boggling, addictive, and impressive first season to a TV show. Of any genre, this show is fantastic, as it is horror, it is extraordinary. Horror TV shows have a habit of being loved or hated. Especially when that TV show is based on a well-known horror movie and they have a difficult audience to please.
We all know Silence of the Lambs, an iconic movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. And then we have the follow on: Hannibal, mixing it up with Julianne Moore. Either way, these movies are spectacular.
So, how would you even begin adapting these movies for a series? You have to capture the sick and twisted mind of a serial killer and cannibal, obviously. But in a show, you must have other storylines ongoing, with characters that are loved and characters that are hated. This show manages to achieve perfection. I was wildly impressed, for many reasons.
Firstly, the cast is sensational. Hugh Dancy, who plays Will Graham, a young FBI criminal profiler who has an uncanny and disturbing ability to empathize with serial killers. The more he is asked to interpret crime scenes in his own way, the deeper he delves into the darkness that lurks in his mind. We are just waiting for him to crack. With plenty of dream montages, we are constantly on our toes as to whether or not he has slipped from sanity and transformed into a killer. Hugh Dancy does a phenomenal job of portraying a man struggling with inner demons and striving for normality.
But of course, we can't forget Dr Hannibal Lecter: a renowned psychiatrist and of course, serial killer and cannibal. This challenging role is played by Mads Mikkelsen, and quite well I might add. He has the ability to play a sophisticated serial killer with a liking for good food and wine, as well as the finer things in life. Yet, his sinister desires are kept stowed away, with not one person suspecting his involvement in strings of murders. I found these two characters to be particularly enticing. Yet, all the cast are very talented, from other FBI employees to Will's lady-friend Dr Alana Bloom, who has her own struggles, fighting the battle between heart and head.
The music is suited flawlessly to the atmosphere of each episode. The producers chose to have - fitting with the air of quality - orchestra music running throughout most scenes. This fits well not only with the intended feeling of the show but its slow pace. That is another reason this show snatched my attention. Most shows have quick scenes and a fast pace, everything happens at superhuman speed leaving us to ponder while attempting to watch the action unfold onscreen. Not this time. Hannibal scenes, for the most part, are steady, dramatic, often tense, and utterly addictive. You can't look away from the screen. It's not just the action and murders that are enticing, it is the conversations themselves. Whether we are watching a scene in Hannibal's office while he talks with a patient, Will at home overthinking events, or a dinner party at Hannibal's home, we are intrigued. The script is fantastic, adding to the vibe of the show, and blending exquisitely with the characters and how we would expect them to talk and interact.
Yes, but how is the gore? Graphic! As we horror fans need it to be! We have the running storyline of Hannibal and Will, but each episode also explores serial killers and their various fetishes. Some scenes had me putting my dinner aside for a few minutes. Bravo to the special effects makeup team!
But seriously, what a total mind-f*ck. We are shoved into Will's psyche, feeling and witnessing his struggles so vividly it feels firsthand. From messed up dreams, special effects, creepy music, and of course his breakdowns! Add this with endless twists and turns on a blood-covered road, and you have a hit show that respects the movies yet brings something more to the story and characters.
Bonus? Gillian Anderson stars! Would you expect anything but a stellar performance?
If I haven't given you enough reasons, let me spell it out for you: WATCH THIS SHOW! I am eager to see how everything develops after being left with an epic climax!
Bestselling horror author, marketer, blogger, reviewer, business owner, freelance writer.