Curon review: Interesting premise, uneven execution
Curon is yet another series with an interesting set-up that eventually gets boring because of the unappealing characters
The idea of evil doppelgangers has been exploited effectively by a multitude of filmmakers such as Basil Dearden in The Man Who Haunted Himself, Padmarajan in Aparan, and most recently, Jordan Peele in Us. But Netflix's new Italian series Curon, also about doppelgangers, doesn't have the storytelling sophistication of its predecessors.
Created by: Ezio Abbate, Ivano Fachin, Giovanni Galassi, Tommaso Matano
Cast: Valeria Bilello, Margherita Morchio, Federico Russo, Luca Lionello
Streaming on: Netflix
This supernatural series begins interestingly enough, at a creepy hotel in Curon, a real location in Italy with its own mythical past. After a haunting incident forces her to leave, a woman, Anna, returns years later to the same place with her children, fraternal twins. The hotel is as creepy as before. It's like the hotel from The Shining but without its striking personality. Sounds of creaky doors are a daily occurrence. The city is prone to constant blackouts owing to its bad electrical network. These are all tried-and-tested spook tropes. However, one thing the series gets it right is photography. The interplay of light and shadows conjures up enough dread.
It's all good until Anna decides to enrol her kids in the local school. From there, the series begins to look like every pedestrian teenage-centric Netflix drama ever made. These are token teenage characters we have seen before. Take, for example, the guy with a crush on a girl meeting with disappointment when he learns of her feelings for a girl. Or the fact that all the teenagers hate their parents. None of this is new. It's as if teenagers are essential in every story pitch made to Netflix.
All of the teenage characters, especially male ones, are devoid of a memorable personality. The only cool character is Anna's daughter Daria, who confidently walks into every room like she owns the place. She doesn't take any s***t from anyone, especially the guys. But her character development doesn't go beyond that. The adults in Curon don't fare any better. They all share a past; but again, the familiarity of it all gets in the way.
We often get images and conversations related to duality. In one of their literature classes, the teacher talks about the presence of two wolves inside all of us: how they are constantly fighting with each other and the one that eventually wins is the one that you feed. When one of the boys feeds his 'bad wolf', his doppelganger arrives in the middle of the night to wreak havoc and puts the series in slasher movie mode. These doubles are often referred to as 'shadows' and 'apparitions', but they are very much in flesh-and-blood form. They appear out of nowhere, and there's not much explanation given as to their origins.
Curon is yet another series with an interesting set-up that eventually turns into a boring mess because of the unappealing characters. It's difficult to feel anything for them and after a certain point, you don't care what happens to them or how it all ends. There is likely going to be a season two (based on the way this one ends), but I'm not looking forward to it.