TV revivals of horror classics aren’t always the best idea. Especially when what we find in them are imitations of classic episodes that perhaps did not need a revision. This marks a difference between horror series that mark an era and those that conform. Perhaps it is not fair to apply this axiom in Amazon Prime Video’s ‘Stories to keep you awake’, but despite starting a second season there is no news compared to the previous one.
Perhaps the most symptomatic case is the new version of ‘The Twilight Zone’ that presented jordan peele. Sometimes the director of ‘Nop’ is blamed for the failure of that one when he was just limited to hosting. Rod Serling He also had the role of curator and screenwriter, but a lack of definition can be attributed to the CBS series that was about sticking to a way of doing things that is not the same in the 60s as it is today, a mistake in which he did not fall in its 80’s revival. But it wasn’t the only one either.
Apple’s ‘Amazing Stories’ was a flop, even trying to make new stories, and Nickelodeon’s youth proposal ‘Are you Afraid of the Dark?’ it has had a good local result, but not by a long shot the influence of the first version. The option suggested by Amazon with the seminal project of Chicho Ibanez Serradortaking mythical episodes of that one to give it a face lift for the times, it does not have a doubtful approach, but they do not always take the most appropriate option for keep the spirit of the original series.
If in the first season ‘Freddy’ stood out above all the other episodes, the bittersweet feeling was evident with the contributions of great directors such as Rodrigo Sorogoyen and Rodrigo Cortes, that they seemed to be passing through, in a commissioned job, rather than in a proposal that really feels the weight of the responsibility of a title like ‘Stories to keep you awake’ on your shoulders. And in this case something similar happens, although there are some willingness to make variations of interest with the originals.
Variations with ups and downs
If the first approached science fiction with ‘El doble’, this one has its answer in ‘El transplant’, a more than decent dystopia that, yes, seems more like a ‘Black Mirror’ than heir to Chicho, although it is capable of covering itself with a very Spanish tragic halo that almost connects more with Mercero than with the episode it adapts. Javier Gutierrez and the rest of the cast are very good and it doesn’t stop being a sharp ironic and painful summary of the frivolities we are willing to assume by the capitalist digestive apparatus.
‘The alarm’ Nacho Vigalondo shows the director in his ‘Extraterrestrial’ modality, that is, hermetic in his world of friends, a story about an unknown threat in which no one can go out on the street and no one knows why, with the leading role of his inseparable Aníbal Gómez, that confuses surrealism with a toy among colleagues, which, despite the grateful presence of Javier Gurruchaga, once again emphasizes the director’s complicated universe of self-contemplative self-reference, that is, the idea of the fleeting joke in front of ideas borrowed from a certain unforgettable chapter of ‘Hammer House of Mystery’.
More traditional is ‘The Nightmare’, which goes around the original twice to Approach vampires in rural Galicia. A story with an air of Hammer from the 60s with a great production design that is not appreciated by a photography without contrasts, gray and diffuse that spoils the fantastic gothic atmosphere a bit. Alvaro Morte does its thing, but it doesn’t hit and the twists are seen coming a league away, either because of the easy speech of fear of otherness or because of the drift of events, which is saved by an ending with intentions and the disturbing atmosphere of Classic horror that had half the job done.
The return of Jaume Balagueró to terror
If in the first season the escapee from the platoon was Paco Squarehere is a Jaume Balaguero much fitter than in ‘Venus’, recovering ‘The TV’ to take it to another territory that maintains the obsession and influence of technology in the field of home security, making a sharp comment about media manipulation of squatting movementssecurity companies and the paranoia induced in Spanish society in the face of a problem created based on lies.
For this, Balagueró touches certain points of ‘Paranormal Activity’ to return to his times of ‘Los sin nombre’, with the influence of ‘El radiance’ that already inhabited ‘Darkness’ with a twist towards the origin of that one, the outstanding ‘ Diabolical Nightmare’ (1976) and its premonitory photos. He may not add anything new to what Dan Curtis was proposing, but here Pablo Derqui gives a good retort to Oliver Reed in an unusually credible interpretation in the national television scene.
In short, ‘Stories to keep you awake’ season 2 once again has notable episodes and others that are somewhat boring, although none is a disaster, the set is bittersweet and leaves the ghost of missed opportunity. It wouldn’t be so obvious if in Spain we hadn’t had the fantastic review ‘Movies to keep you awake’, which not only recovered Chicho Ibáñez Serrador’s trademark, but also showed that original stories are much more exciting and full of possibilities, without this means deviating from the spirit that broke in the 60s.