Lovecraft Country masterfully captures the horror of monsters, racism in America – FanSided

Courtney B. Vance, Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett in Lovecraft Country on HBO. Photograph by Eli Joshua Ade/HBO.

HBOs Lovecraft Country is a true horror TV masterpiece in so many ways.

Its not every day you ask yourself, Whats scarier: Monsters or racists? And as abstract, unreal or even ridiculous as that might seem, HBOsLovecraft Countryputs that question right in your face. If you had one demon to battle in America, would the Lovecraftian monsters or blatant, no-shame-about-it racists be the biggest foe?

That question may all depend on your race in America, whichLovecraft Countrybrings to the table in this 10-episode series from showrunner Misha Green. With Jordan Peeles stamp of approval as an executive producer, the themes of race and horror run together like in his other projectsGet Outand the upcomingCandyman. And as you watch these projects, you realize that the protagonists of these dont really have a choice. Theyll have to take the monsters and the racists.

HowLovecraft Countrytackles these themes is an interesting case. The show, also produced by J.J. Abram and his Bad Robot Productions company, is based on the novelLovecraft Countryby Matt Ruff. And for those who have read it, the series comes pretty close being a faithful adaptation of the book, plus or minus a few tweaks here and there. The story takes place in America during the Jim Crow era where protagonist Atticus Freeman(Jonathan Majors) embarks on a road-tripping journey to find his father, whos told him he discovered some piece of his mothers mysterious heritage. Hes joined by his Uncle George(Courtney B. Vance) and friendLetitia (Jurnee Smollett), as they uncover what mysteries lie within his heritage.

The first five episodes, as previewed for this review, are nothing short of thrilling, exciting and emotional all at once. And for horror television fans, this one is a must-watch. On one side, the characters and their relationships with one another hold together like the real glue of the series, grounding it into something relatable.Atticus, for example, has to deal with his broken relationship with his father, Montrose (Michael Kenneth Williams), and even Letitia also works on mending a broken relationship with her sister after their mother passes.

The second layer of this emotional ride comes when the group (or pretty much any Black character in the show), faces white people and the horrors of racism are put in full view in this series. The list goes on and on of the atrocities some of the characters face, from police brutality and dirty cops to unkind, harassing neighbors. And though the series takes place during the late 50s, oftentimes, it feels more like the show is holding up a mirror to modern-day American society. Knowing just that is a horror story on its own, realizing that while progress was made during the Civil Rights Era, this country still has a long way to go when it comes to racism.

Sexism, too, becomes a huge theme in this series. One white character, for example, is gender-swapped from its novel counterpart. But its a good way to show just how othered groups feel if youre not a white man in America. The new character,Christina (Abbey Lee), is white, though as a woman, shes not allowed to take part in a secret society that her father is a member of. This plays a larger role in the plot as the story goes on, and we see how this develops as she and Atticus and co. go up against the status quo. (Though she, being the bad guy, has different motives than Atticus.) Thats all to say, the series doesnt say women have the exact same plight as Black people in America, but the issue still branches off from the same tree.

That brings us to the final layer of the series, which is the cherry on top: the horror. The level of horror varies with each episode as it moves through different genres and tropes, but that doesnt make it any less exciting. Right from the get-go, Atticus, Letitia and George run into the weirdest-looking monsters just in the first episode. And from there, the series has its share of the supernatural. Some episodes feel a bit more like the seriesSupernatural, where you have a group of people solving a mystery thats tied to magic and monsters and those episodes are a lot more accessible for people who like light supernatural fair and not necessarily scary movie horror. In episode 3 (for those who need fair warning), the show does become more like a horror movie, so be prepared for lots of eerie music, jump scares and frightening sights.

But, these themes wouldnt be pulled off effectively if it werent for the cast.Jonathan Majors shines in the lead role as Atticus, playing the strong, emotional and brave character extremely well.Jurnee Smollett feels like she gets just as much screen time asMajors, and she plays Letitia as the fiery-yet-vulnerable character who wont back down from a challenge.Courtney B. Vance, of course, is a masterful actor in whatever role he plays,Lovecraft Countrybeing no exception. AndMichael Kenneth Williams rounds out the cast as a later addition to the group, bringing another strong performance to the table.

All in all, the series certainly feels like its yet another HBO hit. The quality is top-notch, from graphics to the set design, period costumes, and even the soundtrack and score. And with its ability to be a drama and horror show with a dash of comic relief and sci-fi all in one, theres truly something for everybody in this thrilling show.

Lovecraft Countrybegins airing on HBO Sunday, Aug. 16 at 9 p.m. ET.

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Lovecraft Country masterfully captures the horror of monsters, racism in America - FanSided

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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