Them: Covenant, on Amazon Prime Video, has raised the bar for horror and anthology up significantly for the television and streaming industry. The series, with all 10 episodes able to stream starting April 9th, dives into the horrific and intricate ways humanity has used difference and racism to the advantage of white people- in this case, white women. There's a significant amount of utter brilliant editing work done, a majority by David Kashevaroff, whose recent work includes The 100 and the film Underwater. The framing of scenes and the switching between close-ups of the faces of the Emory family and those of the neighbors is seamless. The editing can only work so well- and that is where the color scheme and choices come into play.
The color of this Amazon series is done purposefully and in a way that reiterates a starting point for the audience and their moods going forward. One of the episodes is very reminiscent of the revitalized third season of Twin Peaks, as it uses a focus on mood, sounds, and lights instead of colorful scenes to make a point and to reveal exposition. The choice of having an episode in black and white was not done just to relate to a historical past, but to also strip away what the audience is comfortable with from previous bright and color-coordinated episodes. The variety of blues surrounding Betty, the perfectionist neighbor full of prejudice, in her home compared to the variety and signature hints of red in the Emory's is such a smart move on the part of the design team. The amount of unease we feel towards the neighbors, even from the beginning, is fantastic when it comes to building up the horror slowly and steadily.
The quality of the acting in Them: Covenant is worthy of awards consideration on every level. With the intensity of grief displayed by both Deborah Ayorinde and Ashley Thomas (Lucky and Henry Emory), you can't help but feel that pain as if it's coming directly through the screen itself. The acting feels raw, real, and in the moment- as if the cameras were never truly there but instead an audience was witnessing everything first hand. Yes, it's that good. The aspects of grief, PTSD, racism, bigotry, and white privilege in every aspect of life can be seen with clarity on the screen. There's no turning away just because something may make me, a white person, uneasy or uncomfortable. Facing the horrors of the past that continue to make their marks today is what is so important about this show. It not only honors the artistic parts of the horror and thriller genres, but it also makes us see more in how streaming can display the realities of how the source of what is monstrous will often come from humans themselves. Lena Waithe and Little Marvin have created a series that can serve as a blueprint for how to approach an anthology series.
"Them: Covenant" Review Rating: 9/10