Pros: ambiguity of the plot; actors; atmosphere in the house; the mystery embedded in the script; cinematography Cons: some scenes, as it turned out after watching, did not make much sense “Servant” / Servant
Genre Drama, Thriller
Creators: M. Night Shyamalan, Tony Basgallop
Cast: Rupert Grint (Julian), Lauren Ambrose (Dorothy), Toby Kebbell (Sean), Tony Revolori (Toby), Nell Tiger Free (Leanne), Julios Belford (Jericho), Philip James Brannon (Matthew Roscoe), Boris McGeever ( Uncle George), M. Night Shyamalan (courier), etc.
Apple TV+ channel
Year of release 2019-2020
The series shows a couple living in a large two-story house. Dorothy is a reporter for local television, and Sean, as a chef consultant, creates new culinary recipes. They have a lot of work to do, so the couple is waiting for the nanny to arrive, who will take care of the newborn baby. One rainy day, a modest girl, Leanne, appears on the doorstep, ready to begin fulfilling these duties. Leanne is not at all embarrassed that instead of a real baby, she will spend time with a doll, which helps Dorothy and Sean cope with the loss of their child.
This is a dark and ambiguous story – this is evident from the first episode, in which the camera slowly makes its way into the house where the main events of the series will take place. The cameraman looks into every room and every corner, and restless music instead of voice-over persistently hints at the strangeness of what is happening.
“A Servant” does not frighten with sharp attacks typical of horror films. The series is rather alarming, periodically pausing and confirming guesses that things in the plot are much more alarming than they might seem.
The close-ups that fill the first episode (by the way, it was directed by Daniel Sackheim, one of the directors of The X-Files series) literally introduce the characters end-to-end, making you feel that the real acquaintance with them will happen much later.
An interesting detail is the profession of the main character, which significantly affects the atmosphere of the series. Sean, played by actor Toby Kebbell (played in the films Kong: Skull Island and Warcraft), works on new dishes, intently cutting up raw meat and discussing the properties of the food he has prepared. His skill, on which the camera lingers for a long time, is only part of the overall picture, which leads to the reconstruction of a tragic incident from the past.
One of the creators of the series was M. Night Shyamalan, whose filmography includes not only the science fiction films “Glass” and “Split”, but also the thriller “The Village” – this picture can still be staged as an example of a successful deception of the audience who received an unexpected ending.
Having switched from feature films to a multi-episode project for Apple TV+, Shyamalan still enjoys sudden plot twists. But this time he tells the story differently, manipulating the shifting emphasis and who actually becomes the central character of the story. In each of its ten episodes, Servant leaves unexplained details that create a sense of unease. Each episode is only 30 minutes long, which makes it much easier to watch and encourages you to watch several episodes at a time.
Importantly, the series has a cast that includes Lauren Ambrose (The X-Files), Nell Tiger Free (Game of Thrones) and Rupert Grint (Harry Potter). The actor, by the way, manages to get rid of associations with Ron Weasley, plunging into more depressing material. Also, Grint’s character dilutes some scenes, allowing himself inappropriate jokes and skepticism.
It is worth saying that “Servant House” quite successfully copes with all the tasks of a thriller, leaving the intrigue almost until the very end. The series is filmed with high quality, so it is easy to watch, and the shortcomings appear after the end of the first season. Thus, some scenes, it turns out, do not make much sense – most likely, they were created to meanly confuse the viewer. Fortunately, this does not affect the resolution of the mystery, but it leaves room for a second season (its filming has already been officially approved).
A high-quality thriller that keeps you in suspense and intrigues with its denouement.