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50 States of Fright Review 2020 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Stars: Rachel Brosnahan, Asa Butterfield, Danay Garcia
There’s always room for more horror anthology shows, and the very concept behind executive producer Sam Raimi’s sounds like a safe bet for success. As the title indicates, the new Quibi series explores urban legends that haunt every state in the United States, with the inaugural season taking on the horrors lurking beneath the surface of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, and Washington. “50 States of Fright” kicks off with the Raimi-directed, Michigan set “The Golden Arm,” dispersed over three short episodes. While there’s a lot to enjoy about “The Golden Arm,” the structure hinders the narrative flow in clunky ways, raising questions in the process about the future of this experimental anthology series.
“The Golden Arm” stars Travis Fimmel as Dave and Rachel Brosnahan as Heather, his high school sweetheart-turned-wife. Dave is a lumberjack and craftsman, unable to say no to his vain but loving wife. Meaning, whatever she wants, he does whatever he can to provide, regardless of whether it’s more than his meager means of life. When a tragic accident results in the amputation of Heather’s limb, and her subsequent depression over her loss of beauty, he crafts her an artificial arm. One she insists be made of gold. It’s only the beginning of their tragic, supernatural tale.
Co-written with Ivan Raimi, Sam Raimi injects some of his trademark flair for splatter. At least in the first episode. It’s also, as seems to be Quibi’s way, very polished with great production value. However, “The Golden Arm” is a folktale that’s been around for centuries, made famous stateside by none other than Mark Twain. Like most urban legends and folktales, alterations are made according to region and storyteller as it gets passed down throughout the years. Still, there isn’t much about this quick adaptation that sells it as Michigan specific. This story could take place anywhere.
Perhaps the biggest flaw is the format. “The Golden Arm” spreads its nearly 24-minute runtime across three episodes, ultimately reducing its effectiveness. The short framework means zero time to get too in-depth, so there’s not much to say with this urban legend. Fimmel and Brosnahan have an uphill battle making their one-note characters likable. Raimi does a decent job closing out each segment with a significant hook or scare. Still, there’s a predictable familiarity to this urban legend, especially if you’re at all familiar with this particular tale.
The tone and narrative of “The Golden Arm” feel similar to the recent Creepshow series, meaning that so far, it’s still finding its identity. There’s a lot to like about Raimi’s episodes, but he also feels shackled by the format. It’s an okay start to the series. If the later state-centric tales can tighten up the pacing according to Quibi’s short setup and offer deeper cuts of urban legends more tailored to specific regions, then there’s a lot of potential for fun horror. If it continues down this path, however, it won’t be worth the subscription price.
Not when there are already so many horror anthology shows available at our fingertips.