Perhaps it’s just me, but whenever I decide to watch something I’m unfamiliar with on Netflix I often end up turning it off again after 20 minutes. There are plenty of Netflix Originals that I love but venturing out to the rest of the platform’s content is quite frightening. So, on Halloween, when I found myself looking for something spooky to get into I came across a miniseries called Residue; I will admit I was pleasantly surprised.
I decided to go into Residue completely blind, not looking up anything about the series, and the pilot episode pulled me in instantly. Immediately recognisable to me was the name Iwan Rheon, who is best known for his role as Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones. His presence was probably something that immediately put Residue into my good books.
The pilot introduces us to the setting of an undisclosed futuristic city, which I presumed to be London based on the accents and the general appearance of the streets. The city isn’t obviously futuristic but the activities and fashion choices certainly suggest so. There are secret bars where guests and workers live in disguise and all forms of illegal activity are the norm’ at underground parties. The first episode begins on New Year’s Eve, and we are introduced to a couple, Jen (Natalia Tena) and Jonas (Iwan Rheon.) During the festivities, a major explosion takes place downtown and the couple witness it from their apartment. Jen is a photographer, and like photographers often are (on television at least) she is curious, and not afraid of getting herself involved in the danger. The three episodes of the miniseries follow the couple as they both investigate what happened that New Year’s Eve and why something mysterious (and possibly supernatural) seems to be taking over the city making people turn to murder.
Throughout the three parts, Jen journeys into unknown parts of the madness and captures people at their point of transformation on camera, their faces mysteriously overcome with black veins and their eyes turn to darkness. A mysterious shadow, or a cloud of black smoke perhaps, follows them leading up to the point where they break. In a way, her pictures are enough to give you nightmares, but the mystery of them makes them somewhat attractive.
The concept of the show is very interesting to me, and as I mentioned, that first episode kicks off in a great way. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the plot, but I will warn you that the ending of the story does not answer any questions you will have. That doesn’t, however, mean it’s a bad ending. I think this story raises a point about how much is being hidden from the public. This isn’t even a new subject, because the government and the media have been covering up the truth behind both terrorist attacks and paranormal investigations for as long as they have existed. This is a topic spoken of in hush tones, at the risk of being called insane or a being labelled a conspiracy theorist. I see Residue as finally someone portraying a disaster such as this explosion the way it would occur in real life. The government would, and they do, keep any evidence of the supernatural behind closed doors. Anyone who dares to venture further and question is silenced in any and every way. That is something that makes this entire miniseries scarier than most stories. It brings to mind the infamous phrase ‘The truth is out there.’ Perhaps the fact that the ending is quite open is another mirror of reality, and it is addressing the issue that we will likely never have answers to the real questions no matter how serious the matter gets.
Something worth mentioning when it comes to Residue is the aesthetic of the show. It has a perfectly dark and gloomy appearance that closely matches its atmosphere. It almost comes across as a beautiful gothic setting when looking into the parties and secret gatherings, although the beauty fades when you return to the streets of London. But with the rather unappealing streets and dangerous setting of the underground bought into the mix, it has the perfect feel for a horror miniseries.
I love most things that offer some mystery, whether I get my answers of not, so I wouldn’t let that put you off starting a pretty great show. If we did that, we would have never gotten into the likes of Twin Peaks, now would we?
All in all, Residue is a short story that we see through the eyes of a photographer and her partner, both have different outlooks, but both seek to discover the truth from the officials. When they don’t find that, they go too far, and you can’t get too far into the truth without facing the dangers that come with it. I highly recommend that you take a look at this miniseries, it consists of 3 episodes with durations of around 40 minutes each, so you can even watch them all as a movie in one sitting; come to think of it, that might be an excellent way to enjoy it.