Starring – Kiernan Shipka
Developed by – Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Genre – Supernatural / Horror
Streaming Platform – Netflix
Fancied as a contemporary by-product of the Supernatural Horror genre, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, based on the 2014 comic book of the same name bustles around our protagonist, Sabrina Spellman, and her ardent gang of friends in Greendale, an aesthetically appealing fictional precinct.
Raised in a witch environed household, Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka), half-witch and half-mortal is your joyous, happy-go-lucky student in Baxter High who is a bit adamant about her upcoming dark-baptism event coming to pass on her 16th Birthday. On the day of the ritual, Sabrina’s concerns increase twofold when she finds out that in exchange of few royalties and distinctions included in the dark-baptism package, she has to sacrifice her freedom, leave her friends, and dedicate herself to the Dark Lord, the King of Hell (also referred as the “Goat Guy”). Sabrina terminates the ritual and questions the barbaric tendencies and the nonsensical rules of the Path of Night and in turn, faces serious repercussions which extend the narrative.
Justifying the main title, every episode in this ten-part extravaganza is a chilling adventure, whether it’s starting a women-support group called WICCA at school or fighting satanic witches, the stakes increase, with the episode count, as things begin to go downhill for Sabrina and friends. Also based on a contempo comic-book, this Netflix Original also follow similar traits to a conventional Superhero as far as the good vs evil aspect and whatnot. But, as the narrative advances from one episode to another, the pacing becomes an issue, and after the fifth episode (which I consider as the road bump), the storyline goes south and suffers a steady decline in terms of keeping the viewer interested. The subplots of Sabrina’s friends, be it Roz’s eye disorder, Susie’s relationship with her family members, Harvey’s affection towards his brother was either disinteresting or even mundane to go through every time. Although it appeared cute, lovely and interesting initially, the entire romantic angle between Sabrina and her boyfriend felt exaggerated, and a bit off too much when “I’ll do anything for Harvey” narrative purposefully becomes the focal part of the series.
As far as the characters go, the most compelling one is, in fact, between Sabrina and her aunties Hilda and Zelda (played by Lucy Davis and Miranda Otto) and her charming cousin Ambrose (Chance Perdomo), who bestows an unusual love-hate relationship dynamic between each other. The fun, love and emotion were knit splendidly throughout the runtime within these four characters, as it makes them so much more relatable and enjoyable. Additionally, the supporting cast including Wardwell (Michelle Gomez), Prudence (Tati Gabrielle) and her sisters, Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle), had their moments and shared significant screen time to compliment the plot.
When it comes to horror elements, the ghosts/witches were neither scary nor campy to watch. The show never maintained that unsettling nature, but it’s rather spooky most of the time. The set and production design including the misty dark nights, houses brimmed with creepers, the colour patterns, the chic costumes, alluring art and interiors, everything made the vista look vibrant, exquisite and chilling on-screen. The background score also pretty much commemorated the vibe of the show in addition to the peppy likeable soundtrack. Cinematography also deserves some special recognition here, as every shot was so-well lit and captured on top of the uncanny and odd out-of-focus that they resorted to making the scene much more intriguing.
Nonetheless, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina had its moments initially in the first two or three episodes before dwindling down into the unholy pit of boredom. It is certainly a tough show to get through even when you vaguely concentrate on what’s happening while scrolling down your Twitter feed or even if you’re a fan of the franchise or the comic books. Watch at your own risk!