Probably the best episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark ever
Man, this is a great episode--probably the best of the entire series. I'd say it's as clever as many classic episodes of The Twilight Zone or The X-Files. The people responsible gave us an original story without cutting corners or taking lame shortcuts. In other words, they didn't write down to their target audience, which, I'm sorry to say, a lot of episodes from this series did. This results in a very mature episode, with genuine suspense and a real sense of danger. Perhaps the smartest thing the filmmakers did was not to show the actual monster until the very end, and when they finally do, it's actually pretty frightening and convincing, and I don't just mean for a kid's show. You can tell the makeup artists were inspired by the EC comics of the 1950s. The characters are also subtle and realistic, rather than two-dimensional cookie cutter figures, and Zeke's backstory feels very real, not overblown or melodramatic. I like the fact that the heroine resists friendship with the high school nerd; she's ultimately kind, but at the beginning of the story is reluctant to put her reputation on the line by giving him the time of day, which seems much more true to me than the typical "popular girl with an unconditionally accepting heart of gold" that often appears on children's shows. And the fact that the monster of the story has actually killed people makes it a tangible threat. This episode doesn't wrap everything in a nice soft safe package simply because preteens will be watching; instead it gives them enough credit to give the story a bit of an edge, so that you don't outgrow this one like you might others.
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