TV SERIES REVIEW
Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance
Year Released: 2022
Runtime: 10 episodes, 47–53 minutes each
Creator(s): Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Lindsay Calhoon Bring
Cast: Bailee Madison, Chandler Kinney, Zaria, Malia Pyles, Maia Reficco, Mallory Bechtel, Sharon Leal, Elena Goode, Eric Johnson, Alex Aiono, Lea Salonga, Jordan Gonzalez
Where To Watch: available on Digital and DVD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
RAVING REVIEW: Welcome to PRETTY LITTLE LIARS: ORIGINAL SIN, the newest teen horror genre franchise addition. The show is set in Millwood, Pennsylvania, where a group of girls is haunted by an unknown assailant seeking vengeance for past sins. The catch is that the girls are unaware of the sins or who committed them. As someone who has never seen any previous entries in the franchise, ORIGINAL SIN is a welcoming starting point to this world, and I never felt lost.
What sets ORIGINAL SIN apart from its predecessors is blending slasher elements with coming-of-age drama. The show takes inspiration from classic slasher films SCREAM, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, and TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, providing references to horror cinema, some of which are in your face and others are more subdued but still there. ORIGINAL SIN is on HBO Max, allowing more adult themes to be included than previous entries on ABC/FREEFORM. The show's core audience is evident, but it appeals to a broader audience.
Some of the show's highlights include its script (I was especially fond of hunting down the Easter Eggs from other films throughout;) the acting and direction were solid, making the series well worth watching and incredibly easy to binge. Throughout the series, the plot has many twists, from suicide, murder, red herrings, and most importantly, the ability for the audience to see and know things that all of the cast weren’t aware of. The adult themes and the horror visuals make it clear that the show is unsuitable for younger audiences. This would be an excellent introductory series for mature teens (maybe with parental guidance in some cases.) The series is rated TV-MA, but as a horror fan, I have a higher tolerance than some, so this is a per-individual decision.
ORIGINAL SIN introduces a masked villain that is a throwback to classic slashers. The unknown identity of the villain adds to the overall suspense, creating tension that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Some of the characters in the show are cinephiles and frequently discuss horror movies, which will appeal to both film enthusiasts and regular viewers alike. This aspect also provides a social commentary on the industry, critiquing political correctness and attention to minorities and genders. This also allows for more modern content, such as the commentary on director Joran Peele and the importance of his films.
This is a well-crafted horror/slasher series that stands out and is worth watching, and what I wanted the SCREAM TV series and SCREAM QUEENS to be. Although I enjoyed both series, this was much more the homage I wanted. While ORIGINAL SIN does have teen drama at times, it knows that the heart of the series is horror. The series has a satisfying ending, leaving room for a second season with more meta-style potential.
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[photo courtesy of BARBARA NITKE/HBO MAX]