August 7, 2019 Two Sentence Horror Stories – Gentleman & Squirm (Episode 1 & 2 Review)
To better describe The CW’s new original series Two Sentence Horror Stories, it is best to delve into the past – a time of youth, when one would be too young to stay up late, but sneak to do so anyway, just to catch that new episode of a favorite Horror/Sci-Fi anthology show on the telly. Much like late ’80s/early ’90s shows like Monsters, Friday The 13th: The Series, and The Hitchhiker took the curious youth to fantastical worlds way beyond the eye’s optical reach, Two Sentence Horror Stories is set to bring those still curious back to that far away place with the premiere of back to back episodes on Thursday, August 8th.
Providing a little education, a two-sentence Horror story means exactly how it reads – two sentences, no matter the length, written in such a way to scare the bejeezus out of someone. Something that can mostly be found scattered all over the internet for those looking to satisfy the need for a short, but sweet fright, Two Sentence Horror Stories takes this idea to the next level, opening each episode with a first sentence, then revealing the second at the finale.
A series which originated as the five-episode short-form digital on go90 in October 2017, The CW kick off their Two Sentence Horror Stories with slick production values laced around the episode Gentleman. Set to air at 9 PM EST on August 8th, it deals with single-mother Hanna (Nicole Kang: The Code series, The Feels 2019) beginning a romantic relationship with gentleman Ken (Jim Parrack: Supernatural series, True Blood series). As things seemingly look good for May, she senses something is a little off with new-beau Ken… or is it the other the way around?
Gentleman carries a creepy vibe throughout its short running-time, containing a multitude of imaginative camera angles. In most of the scenes, the characters are filmed on either the far left, or far right of the screen, leaving a lot of open space to capture everyday happenings occurring in the background. The ‘extras’ seen in the background take on a life of their own, resulting in a very realistic experience while the main actors speak to one another, pulling in the viewer closer to what is happening.
Actors Kang and Parrack do such a great job in Gentleman it will cause one to wish the episode were longer just to catch more of their acting chops. Giving the creepiness to the creepy vibe is Musician Morgan Kibby, whose gloomy score is one long mood piece feeding the scenes with an air of ominous presence. Furthermore, Writer C.S. McMullen provides some awesome dialogue, and many great scenes, while Director Natalia Lyudin masterfully puts it all together to craft a well-made episode.
Stay tuned, for what comes next is the episode titled Squirm, which should immediately spark memories of the much-appreciated, well-made 1976 Horror film of the same name. In this episode, Keisha (Tara Pacheo: Look It Up series, Love In NY 2019) awakes half-naked on her bed with hardly a memory of how she got home after attending an office party the night before. She does remember drinking a lot of alcohol, and having a good time, but not the person she had last seen. Soon, Keisha begins sensing something is not all right with her body, thrusting her into a world of intense paranoia the closer she gets to finding out what had happened to her.
Squirm will prove a nail-biter the very second Keisha opens her eyes. Series Creator Vera Miao wrote and directed this particular episode, winning big time for the way she captures the nightmarish realism of a fictional person forced into a devastating world of sudden paranoia.
Additionally, the way in which Squirm is filmed will be like engaging the fifth gear of a race car already hitting sixty miles an hour. Miao keeps the adrenaline rushing through the veins using clever scene set-ups, hard-hitting dialogue, fantastic camerawork, and perfect editing for the ultimate rush. Standout scenes are when Keisha stares into the camera as night turns to day, and when she delves into whatever memories she has of the office party. Not to be overlooked, Tara Pacheo is one helluva an actress. In fact, she transforms her Keisha into at least three different emotional shades as smoothly as a knife would cut into warm butter. Pacheo’s performance will also prove unforgettable, and could possibly win her a much-deserved Emmy.
Hopefully the brilliance as well as genuinity of both Gentleman and Squirm are just a mere glance of what is to come of The CW’s Horror anthology series. Many fans of the olden days of Horror anthology shows are sure to latch onto Two Sentence Horror Stories with a strong tow-hook in hand, and remain latched long after the series has finished.
That is why for a great bunch of storytellers, and for the way in which each story had been filmed, Cryptic Rock gives both debut episodes 5 out of 5 stars.