Discover more from Deep Cuts
The slasher-ification of 'Pretty Little Liars'
For better or for worse, HBO Max's slick, homage-heavy slasher reboot defies its CW roots, making for a 'Mean Girls'-esque teen drama with a truly twisted spin.
Pretty Little Liars came out in 2010 with a premise ripped right off the pages of I Know What You Did Last Summer. Only this time, the main baddie terrorized their victims, not with a pointy end of a hook but with the alphabet. It’s a complete tween-ification of the premise — a true, C.W. special.
This new reboot from HBO Max, titled Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, embraces the slasher aspect of the story. Though much is rehashed straight from its predecessor, the series takes active steps to deviate: for example, instead of having the main quintet carry the guilt of their own crimes, the ones scared witless are their mothers, helplessly trying to keep their kids at bay.
Also new? The endearing horror homages. Tabby (Chandler Kinney) is the de facto genre nut of the group, constantly referencing Peele, Craven, and Hitchcock. Here, A is personified by a seven-foot monstrosity who looks like he could spar with Michael Myers and Leatherface rather than a Gossip Girl stand-in sending petty drama over text messages.
If the fat ITC Serif Gothic day cards don’t tell you you’re watching a teen slasher, the writing will. And while it leaves plenty to be desired, Original Sin feels like a breath of new life to an otherwise lifeless property. Between this and Hulu’s Cruel Summer, fans of Pretty Little Liars are going to have much to catch up on.
🎭 Allegoria is a horror anthology built with twisted vignettes from artists’ minds. It’s rough around the edges and doesn’t always measure up to anything coherent, but I like the unabashed indie feel. C-
🤳 In The Black Phone, Scott Derrickson grounds supernatural terror and trauma on central themes of kinship and siblinghood. Read my review on Unreel. B+
🦴 M. Night Shyamalan Old just…doesn’t work. D-
👽 Glorious has dropped a new trailer. It’s amazing.
🧛♀️ House of Darkness retells Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Watch the trailer.
🪓 The makers of They Look Like People have a new movie called When I Consume You — the trailer looks promising.
🩸 Chainsaw Man looks bloody fun. Here’s the new trailer.
👀 Watch out for Resurrection, They/Them, and The Sandman this week.
ICYM the bloody news.
💀 AHS: 11 is confirmed to release this fall on FX.
Thank you for reading Field Notes From Hell, my weekly roundup email containing key horror news and thoughts on recent horror films.
If you like what you read, I’d appreciate it if you shared it with a friend.