DVD Review-The River: The Complete First Season

Coming to dvd this Tuesday from ABC Studios

Plot-From Oren Peli, director of Paranormal Activity, and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg comes a found footage television show. The River is the story of world famous wildlife expert and TV personality Dr. Emmet Cole, host of the 20 plus year series The Undiscovered Country. After Cole goes missing in the Amazon, his family, friends, and crew set out to go find him. This weekly show is filmed on a boating expedition thru the amazon, which is led by Cole’s wife Tess, his son Lincoln and a television crew who are there to pay them if they can film this whole adventure. This show will take you with the crew as they go deep into the unexplored regions on the Amazon River. A place where magic is real and they encounter spirits, zombies and people who may or may not be what they seem to be.

Review-Now here is a concept, why not a found footage paranormal TV show. By now, all of you know this will not be renewed for a second season, which makes this show a little less effective because it leaves so many unanswered questions in the last ten minutes. I cannot comment on any of them because they would ruin the whole experience of watching this show, and I am not here to tell you not to see this show. Because what this show did offer, was very fun and you will enjoy a lot. The season itself is very fun at times, but towards the end of episode 5 the season starts to drag and starts to lose its charm towards the final episode, but I still am going to recommend this show. Though, episode 7 with the zombies was very awesome and is worth the price tag for this episode alone. Again- Each episode informs you that this adventure is being filmed for a TV show that the family and crew are being paid as long as all the adventure is captured on tape, which no matter how insane this journey gets the camera man never loses the shot or fearing that the batteries may be dying in the camera. The first episode gets you familiar with the characters and the premise of the show. It tells the story of Cole who went into the Amazon looking for “real magic” and was lost. For 6 months, hundreds of people went on searches for him and nothing. So, after the search is over one night, his beacon on his ship goes off. So now his wife Tess wants to bring her son and a crew and TV people to go find the beacon and get him. As you can guess each episode while on this search, they discover a new evil and they have to survive and film it all. From a tree of dolls that are possessed by a daughter who wants her dead mom back, to zombies, to ghosts, to a black ghost snake, a hanging man, and possession. And I did not even touch the surface as to what they encounter. For me, the first 5 episodes and number 7 were the best of all 8, and had me excited about this show. Though, all the shows at this point to episode 5 ended the same. You get the mother and son on the back of the boat to share life lessons. Each episode we are also introduced to people who were part of Cole’s crew, and hold valuable info on whether he is still alive and where he could be at. This show is mainly about found footage they find on Cole’s boat that they use to try and piece together an idea as to where to find him.
Now, I love the concept of putting a horror TV series on a major network. And, I hate that this show ended the way it did. You can really tell the Spielberg aspect of this show, with all the dragonflies who look like they came out of a twisted Disney film, and the safe adventure aspect of the journeys in the amazon. Almost like Romancing the Stone with horror elements. And, you can tell the Oren aspect of this show, if you have witnessed Paranormal Activity, he has on display the sleeping still scenes where the tape is being fast forwarded to get to a scene that will involve we should pay attention to, while someone is asleep. It also has many nods to Blair Witch as well, with all the running in the woods and going nowhere and freaking out. And, I will say this, the episode they are all going blind, there is no way any one can defend to me how all of them could move around so freely and not fall down or be lost, there is no way a blind person can know their way around a place that well. The season finale, did they know this would be cancelled? They have so much unanswered, and as someone who watched this DVD, I feel sort of robbed. I know coming close to the news of cancelation, they had time to change the DVD and maybe give us some answers. All in all, this was fun though, episode 6 was awful and 8 was to build for season 2. But, the other 6 episodes were a good time and really made me hope that maybe more major studios would open up their doors for more prime time horror shows. Cables biggest shows are True Blood and Dexter. Hopefully more major horror directors can look at this show as maybe an idea pad as to what they could offer a major network?

8 out of 10