‘Devil in Ohio’ Review: Devil Cults and Teen Drama Make for a Weird Combination
Netflix keeps pumping up content every week, and for that alone, it deserves to be one if not the biggest streaming services in the market right now. You can say whatever you want about the quality of the content, but Netflix always wants to keep you entertained. This time it is the turn to review “Devil in Ohio” a new Netflix limited series that will try to bring audiences by combining folk horror elements, with a good dose of soap opera and lots of teen drama.
The show is created by Daria Polatin, and it is based on a novel written by Polatin of the same name. The series stars Emily Deschanel, Sam Jaeger, Gerardo Celasco, and Madeleine Arthur. The series follows the character of Mae, a young girl who manages to escape from a creepy devil cult. She ends up in a hospital and then gets received in the home of the hospital’s resident psychiatrist, Suzanne. The invitation of the young girl into Suzanne’s home will change Mae’s and Suzanne’s family forever.
Devil in Ohio is a very strange limited series, not because of its themes or subject. We have seen many shows recently that tackle the fact that there are some sketchy organizations out there that end up being quite influential. No, the strangeness of the show comes from the mix of genres. At points, the show focuses almost entirely on Mae and how she is adapting from being part of a devil cult to going to school, having boys after her, making friends, and more.
The show tries at many moments to be a dark and serious mystery show. However, most of those dark elements are overshadowed by the classic teen drama. For example, Helen and Jules, Suzanne’s teenage daughters, are completely devoted to plot lines that just run around their future at university or their school and romantic lives. With Mae only serving as a sort of annoying new person that lives in their house and nothing more.
There is also a plot line involving a character finding a new path to live, which is cool, but has nothing to do with the title of the show. Only Suzanne, Mae, and the character of Alex, played by Celasco really have anything to do with the main storyline. Sometimes, it feels like the rest of the characters are just there to serve as filler, to stretch the plot as much as it can. If you are interested in some teen drama, then this is the show for you. Sadly, the darkest parts of the story are left out to the side a bit too much.
The acting is pretty good. It is nothing to write home about, but all the actors do their roles efficiently. Arthur and Deschanel are, of course, the highlights of the show, but only because they are the main characters of the piece. Arthur specially knows how to move between being tender and sweet, and creepy and scary. The young actress has had some roles in other productions, but this is the first time that she takes the central role and it feels right.
The show also boasts a very standard look for a Netflix show. We are all familiar with this type of look. Each one of the sets is very well lit and everything just looks a bit too clean and perfect to feel real. Devil In Ohio adheres to this look and never strays from it. Even when the show goes into the darkest parts of its universe, things look a bit too clean. Because of it, it is hard to create any sense of danger or tension. Nothing terrible could happen in a show like this.
The plot moves at a good pace, but like we said before, the series is divided between the mundane storylines and the ones connected with the cult. The consequences that such a connection will bring to Suzanne and her family are always on our mind, but both storylines are not connected enough to make us care if what happens here will have repercussions there. The plot doesn’t have the best of progressions because of this choice, but it never gets completely boring.
At the end of the day, Devil in Ohio shows its cards a bit too late. There is a lot of building to an ending that waits exactly until the last moment to give the audience any sort of satisfaction. Of course, the climax of a story should always be the highlight of the tale, but not giving us little climaxes along the way for this type of story might have been a bit too much waiting. It doesn’t have anything to do with being impatient, it is just that there isn’t a lot to chew on throughout the journey.
Devil In Ohio entertains, but it never goes the extra mile in any of its aspects. The devil cult plot line is never too dark, while the teen drama sections are exactly what we have seen many times before in the genre. Thankfully, the actors are all doing their jobs and none of them are going on autopilot. The dialogue is quite bad, so props to the actors for elevating where they could. At the end of the day, the limited series feels right, but it could have been so much more.