By Anthony Wetmore
Earlier this year, season 2 of Channel Zero premiered, introducing us to the No End House. Syfy’s Creepypasta inspired anthology series, which gave us an elegantly chilling interpretation of “Candle Cove” in its first season. The story, No End House, has been altered heavily from the source material both to its benefit and detriment.
Shortly after the death of her father (John Carrol Lynch), Margot Sleator (Amy Forsyth) is drawn into a new ‘art’ installation called the ‘No End House’ with a handful of friends, though truly the only one that bears any relevance is her best friend Jules (Aisha Dee). Whispers of strange and horrifying things happening inside color expectations, the doorknob is turned and nothing will ever be the same.
Within the first episode, we are introduced to and are taken through the No End House at a confusingly rapid pace, but the reason soon becomes evident. From cheesy, yet off-kilter music fills a dim, red room where a table sits adorn with cast accurate busts of each of the entrants. Lights out and back on in a flash, the busts, all but one, are crushed and torn. You will be destroyed, the house seems to imply.
I’ll refrain from ruining any of the other rooms, but as the group progresses into the sixth room, something else seems to be happening. They’re back at home, and something isn’t right. Doppelgangers of friends and family acting strange, the echo of a painted warning “BEWARE THE CANNIBALS”, this is not home.
Margot, who we follow these six episodes, is grieving the loss of her father, only to suddenly find he seems to be alive again. This is where this season hits a wall for me. Though beautifully shot and written, this interpretation of the No End House leaves me feeling disappointed. The idea that this house becomes a part of Margot’s grieving process by giving her what she wants most, another chance to be with her father, is such a clever trick that falls flat.
Once the situation presents itself clearly, everyone ceases to act as one might. There is a halt on the urgency of trying to leave and we find that everyone is almost too comfortable. A few displays of uncomfortable violence deliver just enough terror to satisfy, tasteful and truly well shot.
Ultimately, the No End House is a mixed bag that never quite lands where it wants or needs to land. All the proceedings are enhanced by the ever fantastic John Carrol Lynch, who can loom with expert precision and make something as banal as breakfast a heart-pounding edge of your seat affair. No End House is absolutely worth your time, here’s looking forward to season 3, due very early next year.