15 April 2018

The Terror, mini series review

I finished watching the new 10-part AMC mini series "The Terror" the other day and am positively blown away how good and atmospheric it was.

The series at its core is based on true events, revolving around a polar expedition with two British navy ships searching for the north west passage (in the frozen realms above Canada). Finding the passage would mean quicker trade routes east. However finding them means exploring blindly into terra incognita under extreme weather conditions, primarily the cold weather and ice filled waters.

I had read about that expedition a while back, one of many very interesting stories (the Terra Nova expedition another one) where explorers went out to discover things in the frozen regions on earth ending in disaster.

The title refers to both one of the ships of the expedition, and a weird creature that stalks the ice - adding a made up horror twist to the historical drama. 

The cast, sets and atmosphere is phenomenal - one of the best I've seen in a while. So good in fact that it kept me glued to the screen despite the beginning of the show can be slow and have no immediately clearly defined main character for you to follow. At the start of the show, the main character is simply the surrounding hostile environment that the expedition soon finds itself stuck in. The plot being mostly about coping and enduring the winter. But as the episodes fly by, a more clearly defined character and story is put in place and the show gathers momentum.

It never goes into full horror movie territory, I would say it stays grounded in reality for a majority of the running time of each episode. I don't know if I enjoyed the show as much because of prior knowledge of the expedition, or if I would enjoy it more not knowing anything. To me it was very interesting to see a representation of what most likely happened, which was pieced together during the years following the expedition.

It's a very well made show, with great attention to detail in both the period costumes, the ships and how the hostile environment is portrayed. The acting being top notch throughout the show certainly helps. And as the story unfolds, you are treated with great visuals, horror elements and madness.

I don't want to spoil too much by describing the show in too much detail, and reading up about the expedition may be a spoiler in itself. I still found the ending satisfying despite knowing a lot in advance. 

If you like like one or all of the following: stories like H.P. Lovecrafts "At the mountains of madness", movies like "The Thing" and are interested in historical exploration stories - this show is for you.

It is slow paced, bleak and depressing, so it will not be everyone's cup of tea. I was so enthralled by it that I had to purchase the novel which the show was based  on. That usually never happens.

The Terror 10-part mini series is a 10/10!


  1. Thanks for the review! We are only up to the 5th episode Monday night on AMC. Where did they show the entire series? My wife & I are really enjoying it as well.

    1. The whole series leaked online a couple of episodes into the show. I was made aware of that last week.

      I can't wait to buy it on Blue-Ray!

  2. I'm watching it also and like the the atmosphere and accuracy.

    When I first saw the previews, I thought it was going to be about the actual expedition and their fight for survival. A little disappointed that it's really not about that, but will keep watching. :)

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