By Melissa Antoinette Garza
Anyone who knows me knows that THE TWILIGHT ZONE (1959) is my favorite show of all time, tied only with DRAGNET (1967-1970). Rod Serling was one of the most brilliant minds ever to grace earth. He used his knowledge of human nature to create some of the most thought-provoking and memorable moments in TV history. That doesn’t even touch on his books, screenplays and, of course, NIGHT GALLERY. It’s safe to say that we will never get another Rod Serling, but kudos to HULU for attempting to recreate the magic.
DIMENSION 404 is a HULU original show produced by RocketJump and Lionsgate Television. Four episodes in, the similarities to THE TWILIGHT ZONE and the British show BLACK MIRROR (2011). Like BLACK MIRROR, DIMENSION 404 examines strange and scary situations regarding technology.
Every 45-minute show begins with, the king of voices, Mark Hamill providing a narration that would make Serling proud. I love Mark Hamill. Whereas most love him for Luke Skywalker, I’m more of a Joker fan and he voices the best Joker!
Just so I don’t have to say it on every review, Mark Hamill is great. He is brilliant. There’s no one like him. He must stay on the show forever and also reprise The Joker on a BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES reboot. Netflix has Marvel, can’t HULU get DC and start this?! I’ll pay more for the subscription.
Sorry about that, I get on rants sometimes. Where was I? Hamill’s voice – yes, it is perfection and whomever hired him for the show, needs a promotion.
Thus far, only four episodes have aired, but there’s a new episode every Tuesday! HULU fans remember to add this on your watch-list immediately and tell HULU how good it is. We want to make sure this show stays for awhile!
MATCHMAKER (EPISODE 1)
The first episode is all about love; the importance of love and the horrors of it.
Adam (Robert Buckley) is a successful music blogger who lives with his friend Greg (Matt Jones), who drinks all his beer and intrudes in his life without asking.
After a bad date, Adam returns home in a bad mood. Greg tells him to cheer up and shows him a dating app, Make-A-Match. Adam isn’t that interested but Greg confesses he already signed his roommate up. Reluctantly, Adam goes on a blind date with Amanda (Lea Michele) and finds an instant connection. They love the same music and share the same tastes.
Everything goes well for three months, until Adam tells Amanda he loves her. We soon find out that Make-A-Match isn’t what it seems and the owner Mr. Maker’s (Joel McHale) business model has tragic consequences when a relationship doesn’t work out.
This was a cool first episode that parodied eHarmony and Match.com. Though it wasn’t scary, it didn’t need to be. It was simply a good science fiction show reminiscent of TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE (1983) and MONSTERS (1988).
The acting all around was fantastic. Buckley, specifically, did a great job. He showcased his talent in scenes where he was both funny and believable in situations that call for a huge range of versatility.
It’s also always great to see Joel McHale. Though, it’s probably too late for a COMMUNITY (2009) big-screen movie, I hold out hope that E will come to its mind and bring back THE SOUP. He was terrific and when the role called for him to go big, he went all the way over-the-top crazy and it was terrific.
This is a must-see. It’s so great to see monthly subscription channels coming through where cable often fails.
Scared Stiff Rating: 7/10
CINETHRAX (Episode 2)
I don’t care who you are or where you lean politically, you just must love Patton Oswalt. I’ve followed his career for a long time and enjoy his brand of humor very much. One of his greatest performances was in the drama/comedy BIG FAN (2009). I’ve reviewed it previously and can’t suggest it enough.
Here Oswalt stars as a Gen X-er, Uncle Dusty. Dusty is the kind of guy who was picked on in high-school and created a defense mechanism he still carries with him. Been there! When millennials record him dancing in his car, he tries to pretend he doesn’t care, but he does.
Poor Dusty, doesn’t even have a job. His brother keeps pressuring him to get one which only frustrates him more. He’s the kind of guy who looks at the corporate world as conforming and he refuses to do that!
The one bright thing in his life is his niece, Chloe (Sarah Hyland). Chloe is his only friend and though still loving some of the things Dusty does, she is changing a bit. She’s a teenager who wants to be cool and do cool things.
Dusty wants her to remain like him, because she’s all he has. He picks her up to go see a movie and lets her choose hoping she’ll pick SUSPIRIA (1977) as it’s playing at a local theater. Instead, she chooses a mainstream movie similar to THE HUNGER GAMES (2012). Dusty isn’t impressed but agrees to go. The movie is shown in a new technology known as CINETHRAX. It is a form of 3D that requires glasses.
As Dusty doesn’t like films in anything but 2D, he uses a pair of big sunglasses that changes films to a 2D experience. He has two pair and gives one to Chloe.
Without wearing the right glasses, Dusty begins to see objects coming directly out of the movie. Chloe, not wanting to look weird in front of her friends, wears the Cinethrax glasses. He tries to warn Chloe that there’s a strange snake like creature coming for them that can only be seen with his glasses. She refuses as Dusty is removed from the theater and placed in a room to calm down.
This is one of my favorites thus far. I adored the homage to THEY LIVE and the foreshadowing as Dusty was wearing a THEY LIVE t-shirt. Dusty’s true-to-form bitterness of our generation regarding change is done remarkably well. The description of the episode stated that Dusty was a snooty cinema purist. I laughed because I agreed with nearly everything he said.
This is the scariest episode so far. I’m always fearful of being trapped in a theater. DEMONS (1985) is one of my favorite films of all time, but you couldn’t pay me to watch it at the cinemas. Nope. That’s what this episode felt like. It was a beautiful nostalgic ride that both paid tribute and poked fun at Gen X while paying respect to some amazing horror flicks!
Both Patton Oswalt and Sarah Hyland sold CINETHRAX and put their heart and soul into each scene. The dialogue was fantastic and delivered brilliantly! The banter between the characters and their butting of heads was natural and set the tone for the rest of the episode. The supporting cast that portrayed employees of the cinema were all great and helped bring the scares.
Definitely, check this out! It’s a genuinely amazing watch that proved itself better than my already high expectations. If you don’t have HULU, this episode alone makes it worth getting a subscription.
Scared Stiff Rating: 8.5/10
NEXT DIMENSION 404 REVIEW: CHRONOS and POLYBIUS