Review of "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina": The Dark and Relevant Magic of Netflix's Latest Thriller

adminOctober 26, 2018


Sabrina Spellman, the Protagonist of Netflix. Sabrina's chilling adventures, makes a dramatic departure from his first incarnation of Archie Comics. She is still a half-witch, half-mortal teenager, hiding her powers from everyone in the mortal world. But this latest iteration of the teenage witch, played by Kiernan Shipka, faces problems that are disconcertingly current. At the beginning of the first episode, a friend confesses to Sabrina that she was sexually assaulted by a group of soccer players. Outraged, Sabrina goes to the principal's office to present her friend's case to director Hawthorne (Bronson Pinchot). He is dismissive, even disinterested. Sabrina insists on calling the soccer team for questioning.

"Are you suggesting a witch hunt?" He says.

Sabrina does not lose the rhythm: "I do not care about that term".

But beyond being a now familiar convention, it is also a moment of surprising awareness for the program: "Witch Hunt" directly evokes the language that has been used to delegitimize the #MeToo movement, to suggest that affirmations against groups of men are paranoid hysterical. And through the first episodes of Netflix's new teen thriller, Sabrina's chilling adventures Negotiates the paradox of gender in the history of witches. On the one hand, witch women must sign their freedom before a patriarchal Dark Lord to gain power; On the other hand, their powers allow them to settle accounts with oppressors of the mortal world. And by leaning towards that uncomfortable balance, the program revitalizes a comic character who was once frivolous, and positions as his adversaries not only the daily evil of the mortal world, but Lucifer himself.

The fantastically macabre update comes courtesy of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also created The CW's Riverdale. As with that show, Sabrina he takes his familiar cast of characters, Sabrina, his aunts witches, his feline family, and places them in a darker and more mature medium. Fans of RiverdaleThe group of adolescents in heat will not find the same level of furious hormones in Sabrina. However, they will see much more gore in this adaptation, which is unbreakable in its inspiration of images and tropes of terror. In one of the first scenes, a pair of levitation scissors pierce the victim's neck, releasing jets of blood that decadently gather through the frame. And that's just in the pilot episode.

The backdrop of the show is Greendale, whose quaint mid-century Americana instantly recalls the aesthetic of the neighboring city Riverdale. We learned that Greendale had his own frightening witch trials, hundreds of years ago, and the coven has lived in secret ever since. His last initiate would be Sabrina Spellman, that is, if it is decided. Sabrina was born to a witch father and a mortal mother, both of whom died a long time ago. On his sixteenth birthday, according to the tradition of Spellman, he can choose to reach an agreement with the devil and maintain his powers, with a trap: he must cut ties with his mortal life, including his human friends and his indifferent boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle. (Ross Lynch)

Sabrina does not have much time to reflect on her options. Her witches aunts Zelda (Miranda Otto) and Hilda (Lucy Davis) are already preparing Sabrina for her Dark Baptism, scheduled for Sabrina's sixteenth birthday, which is also on Halloween, which it just happens to fall under a vaguely portentous eclipse. If you decide to give your freedom to the devil, in exchange for power, you must also attend the Invisible Arts Academy, never to see your human friends again.

Unlike with [previous] adaptations of the character of Archie Comics, however, magic is no laughing matter. The magic representation of the Netflix show is more closely aligned with the medieval and Renaissance concept of witches, which were believed to have been bestowed with power by Satan himself. Lucifer makes some appearances in the show, in the form of a grotesque goat monster, which echoes the medieval representations and the devil of the disturbing Goya. Witches' Sabbath. Even Salem, Sabrina's family feline, is not an intelligent animatronic, but a cat that occasionally shows signs of its fearsome demonic form. The darkest representations of the magic of the series create some deliciously chilling chills.

But they are also where Sabrina He begins to lose his magical touch: the show sometimes seems so tormented by explaining the rules of the witch's law that he considers his own construction of the world in the first episodes. In a pilot episode of a show with fantastic elements, you can forgive the most important exhibition. But towards the end of the third episode, when a high priest of the Church of Satan's Night (a madman Richard Coyle) expounds on the law of witches during a trial for the soul of Sabrina, the show begins to look didactic.

However, the show remains intact, held together by its center of gravity, the same sorceress of the same name. Shipka plays Sabrina, serious, voluntary and occasionally vengeful. She is a Sabrina who speaks, often imprudently, against the draconic laws of the mortal and human worlds. Sabrina's choices, whether she maintains her powers or what she chooses to do with them, seem to deal with this paradox as it grows throughout the season. It is the strong performance of Shipka that allows Sabrina to be inserted convincingly in current conversations about sexual assault and consent.

The premise of the program, in fact, focuses on the relationship of women with power: what they can do when they have it and how the men around them react. When Sabrina is rejected by the director Hawthorne, she decides to give a lesson to the soccer players and, with the help of the Weird Sisters, a supernatural gang of gothic girls who enjoy the torture of the boys with too much fervor. When lowering of its revenge, Sabrina expresses its doubts about signing its name with the devil to conserve its powers. She confesses to the Weird Sisters that she wants to keep both her powers and her freedom.

"He will never give you that, The Dark Lord," says one of them, Prudence (Tati Gabrielle). "The thought of you, or of any of us, that terrifies you so much."

When Sabrina asks why, Prudence smiles: "He is a man, is not he?"

Sabrina's chilling adventures It is a fun and seasonal fantasy according to your favorite classic horror tropes. (Are there satanic spiders coming through a window, someone?) But her greatest strength is Shipka's Sabrina, defiant even when she is not sure of herself, and is determined to wrest control of two worlds that try to strip her of her . While witchcraft is set in sixteenth-century imaginations, the show portrays the agency and the consciousness of twenty-first-century adolescents against a retro-creepy background, with fears that are really funny.

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