Netflix is really upping their game this year by buying shows that stand out. Channel 4, a British network, produced this surprisingly superb series. It has unique scripts, professional and impressive effects, and great actors.
'The End of the F*cking World' is a hit.
What first drew me to it was that it's British, as am I. This comes across in the countryside scenery and the decor of homes, which I personally found to be nostalgic and overtly English. But secondly, I was drawn due to the elements of horror. After watching the trailer and discovering that the show explores a young boy who strongly believes he may be a psychopathic killer, I instantly added it to my list.
A young boy (James) is following the typical serial killer path: killing animals, doesn't 'do' emotion or socialize well, and the big give away: he yearns to kill something bigger.
In school, he keeps to himself. He blends in and avoids drawing too much attention to himself. He doesn't have time to deal with high school drama, he has bigger fish to fry. Or, if speaking technically, bigger living creatures to kill: humans.
A young girl takes a liking to him, a rather candid and brash young lady. She is outspoken and bold, to say the least. They begin an unlikely and unconventional love affair, which takes a dark turn. However, it does not turn out the way you think it will. The tables are turned on the viewer.
Throughout the series, the characters develop remarkably. You get two completely different people who grow on each other. They identify their differences and push past them. On a road trip to find the girl's father, they find themselves in a spot of bother on more than one occasion.
I found the lead actors, Jessica Barden (Alyssa) and Alex Lawther (James), to be impressive. They suited the characters fantastically.
Jessica portrayed Alyssa as this misunderstood girl who speaks out to deflect from her insecurities, behaving self-destructively. I went to school with girls like this, whose first response to most situations was anger, stemming from feeling uncomfortable, stupid, or misinformed. The performance came across as genuine. Although she made me uncomfortable on more than one occasion, I can't deny the authenticity of her performance.
Whereas Alex plays James as a quirky, odd individual who hates 'feelings' and is awkwardly stumbling through adolescence. We all knew, or were, someone like this. They were nice yet reserved, shy yet always there to offer help. However, James seems to merely want to blend into the background and prefers to monitor human behaviour, rather than partake in it.
Against all wishes, he begins to get 'the feels'.
The voice overs (internal dialogue) was needed with such characters that don't often speak. This aided character development and often their exterior didn't accurately express their inner anguish.
As the story progresses, we see glimpses of actual people with souls within these archetypes, creating a need to know who these people really are and how this horrible journey will affect them. Who will they turn out to be?
There are some adorable yet uncomfortable scenes that remind us what it's like to be that age, having these feelings and not sure how to handle them. It also reminds us we have all behaved embarrassingly as youngsters, acting out for attention, or as some form of a coping mechanism.
The pace was fast, but not rushed. Scenes were sharp with no 'filler' moments. Everything was essential to character development or the plot. And if anything, the show continues to strengthen as it progresses. These opposite characters start to form a bond, shockingly. Everything falls into place after that. Things get darker and darker as their twisted road trip continues, putting them face-to-face with danger.
I found the twists to be exciting and unexpected, none of which I saw coming. I'd say this fits in the middle of comedy, horror, and has definite 'indie' vibes. The production is top-of-the-range without being all flashy and Hollywood-esque. You are taken on a ride that's unnerving, inappropriate, entertaining, and bizarre.
Overall, I'd give this a 9/10. My only problem, which has nothing to do with the content but rather it's length, is that the episodes are super short. Each clock in at around twenty minutes. I sincerely hope there will be a season two. I can see this show sprouting off in so many directions.
Bestselling horror author, marketer, blogger, reviewer, business owner, freelance writer.