“Scream” meets “Red Dragon”
“Lord help my Poor Soul”
– Edgar Allen Poe’s Final Words
“A brilliant and charismatic, yet psychotic serial killer communicates with other active serial killers and activates a cult of believers following his every command.”
This episode is a “Don’t Miss”
Kevin Williamson, who brought us Scream, The Faculty and Teaching Mrs Tingle channels his inner Thomas Harris and brings us a very suspenseful, gritty and scary serial killer drama named appropriately “The Following.” It stars the ever watchable and consistently great Kevin Bacon (Stir of Echoes) as a down on his luck FBI Agent/Profiler turned true crime fiction author, Ryan Hardy. Hardy is called back into action by the FBI after serial killer he caught and imprisoned, Joe Carroll, played by James Purefoy ( John Carter and Resident Evil) escapes from prison after slaying a handful of poor correctional officers. Writer Williamson and director Marcos Siega (Chaos Theory and The Vampire Diaries) immediately set mood, tone and style with how everything unfolds but not without a nod to Thomas Harris and his serial killer/FBI Agent “To and Fro” template.
The Following is serious, gory and suspenseful. It plays out like a twisted amalgam of “Scream” and headier “Red Dragon” It has it’s share of suspense and chills as we are taken along for the ride as Hardy tries his damndest, while working with new Agents, to track down Carroll and save a previous victim who lived named Sarah played by Maggie Grace (LOST, Taken and Taken 2). Carroll startles us with a brilliant, evil and calculating mind which plays perfectly off of Hardy’s damaged, concerned and sensitive Hardy. The trail left by Carroll for Hardy and his team is a reflection of how violent and disturbed The Following really is. Carroll, it appears has quite the legion of fans and followers and he is playing the FBI and Hardy like a grisly card game. The show at times is intensely wrapped in procedural trappings but very rarely. Williamson provides great dialog, scares and a Hitchcockian type of suspense that elevates the material in order to bravely match some Cable TV crime shows like Dexter, Homeland and the like.
Bacon and Natalie Zea as Purefoy’s ex -wife are 2 of the 3 main reasons to watch this show. Purefoy being the 3rd and most meaty. If there is a 4 and 5th reason it would be the supporting cast and Williamson’s material. Shawn Ashmore ( X Men, X2 and Frozen), Billy Brown (Star Trek) and the very pretty Jeananne Goossen (The Vow) rounds out the trio of Agents that work diligently with Hardy pursuing Carroll. Bacon alone is worth watching this horror drama and he does not disappoint. He is afraid, stoic and recovering from vices that reared their ugly heads after his severe injury caused by Carroll himself. Injuries that left him in need of a pacemaker. An allusion to Poe that becomes clear later. Purefoy here is a stunner. He is charming then feral. He is smart, deadly, manipulative and has an obsession for Edgar Allen Poe which is a cool touch because it supplies us with a metaphorical framework to build on. Poe is all over this show from one character quoting his works to Carroll leaving the word “Nevermore” written in blood on a garage wall. I hope that Williamson continues to build on that framework since as ferocious as this Pilot was I am so excited to see where this show is headed. I hope I can be that brave every week when I tune in. The Following never lets up and once you are in it’s grip it never lets you go. I highly recommend it! …Just don’t watch it alone kiddies.