Last night, ABC aired The River, a two-hour premiere show about a family and film crew who sail down the Amazon in search of a missing nature show commentator.  Created by Stephen Spielberg and Oren Peli (creator of Paranormal Activity), the River is shot like a documentary.  I have not seen any of the Paranormal Activity movies, so I cannot compare Peli’s latest project to that.  I can say that I was expecting something like Jaws meets Lost.  But that is not what I got. 

A show has not creeped me out this badly since the X-Files.

The premise of the show is this:  A famed nature show host, Emmet Cole, goes on an expedition in the Amazon, but does not take his wife, son, or normal film and ship crew.  Six months after he goes missing, his beacon sounds.  His wife, Tess, hires security, a film crew, the original mechanic of the ship, and coaxed their son, Lincoln, into searching for him among the infamous river.  They find the ship and beacon, but not Emmet.  In the first episode, they unwillingly unleash a barely seen evil that attacks the ship and some members of the crew.  Once the ship’s engine is repaired, they are underway through uncharted parts of the Amazon.  Sound like a good idea?

The first episode was decent.  I did not find it too creepy, and was a great opener for a continuing series.  Yet the second episode had reminiscences of Blair Witch Project and other classic horror films that make the skin crawl.  Scenes crept up on me, make me scrunch down on the couch and pull the ever-protective blanket closer and closer to my face.  But I just had to see what would happen.  A monkey made me shudder.  A horrific tree filled with decrepid dolls makes me thankful I don’t have a daughter and a house full of dolls. 

The River has many of the main characters to help the story: the determined wife, the distant son, the hot chic, the spiritual young woman, the capitalist, and the bad-ass. 

Overall, The River, has captured my attention.  I will be tuning in next week to follow this journey into not the natural parts of the Amazon, but the supernatural.

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