Marianne: Season 1 Spoiler-Free Review

Victoire Du Bois in "Marianne."

Marianne is the latest Netflix horror to create a buzz. The eight-episode series is a chilling tale of witchcraft and psychological trauma. Hiding behind the sofa is almost guaranteed.

The protagonist of the series is a troubled best-selling author called Emma. Her horror series tells the story of a witch called Marianne, a witch who has plagued Emma’s dreams, or rather nightmares, since she was a child. When Emma announces that there will be no more books in the series, Marianne returns to threaten Emma into continuing writing.

It becomes apparent in the first episode that the series is just as much about Emma’s personal horror as it is about the eerie witch which possesses the mother of a friend. Emma is an alcoholic who is unable to hold together her relationship. Her parents hold a grudge against her for a mysterious incident that took place in her childhood and the friends who once adored Emma are now scared of her. When Emma returns to her hometown to visit Caroline’s mother, she discovers that the terrifying witch who plagued her childhood nightmares has possessed her friend’s mother. If Emma does not continue writing, Marianne threatens to kill her parents and then pick off her friends one by one. If Emma responds to the threats with violence, all the local police will see is an old woman who has been attacked by a drunk woman.

Marianne successfully creates the atmosphere of a haunting which we praised Haunting of Hill House for in our five-star review. Even when nothing supernatural is occurring, the series sustains the feeling of horror and unease. It isn’t that we are anticipating jump scares but rather that as an audience we are pulled into a scenario where something feels unpleasant and wrong. There is no space to relax and the uncomfortable feeling of the uncanny exists throughout each episode. We know that there is something sinister going down but there is no sense of certainty about what this is or how to counter it.

In addition to being frightening, Marianne offers us some great characters who we connect with instantly. Director Samuel Bodin achieves a sense of realness among Emma and her friends so that as an audience we feel somehow involved in their lives. It’s this element of the series which keeps us gripped while the horror element rewards are dedication.

To conclude, Marianne is worth a watch for those who prefer a horror series to have a compelling story that intertwines with psychological terror and things that go bump in the night.