TV Review: “Ravenswood” – Irresistibly Spooky

Written by Meredith Pow December 05, 2013

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I supposed it was inevitable that after the success of “Pretty Little Liars”, ABC Family would decide to create a spin off. Set in an evidently haunted town called Ravenswood, the show follows the story of Caleb and Miranda, as they search to unfold the mystery of their past relatives with whom they share an uncanny resemblance. Miranda meets her uncle Raymond in Ravenswood, who is reluctant to give her information about the mysterious death of her parents, but allows them to stay with him in his house (which just so happens to be the funeral home where he works, located beside a graveyard). Other characters include twins, Luke and Olivia Matheson, who must cope with the strange and sudden death of their father, and Remy Beaumont who works at the Ravenswood Gazette and helps, Caleb and Miranda find information about their relatives in old archives.

“Welcome to a town soaked in death.”

While initially expecting to hate “Ravenswood”, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by its dark and twisted plot. I would argue that “Ravenswood” shows little resemblance to its parents show “Pretty Little Liars”, as it projects a much darker supernatural genre similar that of “Vampire Diaries”. Of course, there are a few negatives that need to be addressed (i.e. ABC Family’s obsession with casting unrealistically young actors to play parental roles in their shows), but let me mention a few highlights of the series so far.

As a horror, the show’s attention to detail is very well done. From the lighting, to the music, to the deafening silence in between, “Ravenswood” masters the art of scary and suspenseful scenes. It’s successful when it comes to the ‘scare factor’, and I’ll admit, I jumped out of my seat more than a couple times while watching the first five episodes. In contrast to the town of Rosewood in “Pretty Little Liars” (which is depicted as an innocent and safe town where strange things just happen to occur), Ravenswood is introduced as an unmistakably dark town, with a very depressing history. Along with its intriguing plot, that puts more of a focus on the spooky aspects of the show, rather than tuning into the minor drama happening on the side, “Ravenswood” is a true mystery-thriller.

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“I want answers.” (And so do we)

As gripping as “Ravenswood” may be, it follows a format similar to “Pretty Little Liars” that unfairly compels its audience to stay tuned. The art of raising more questions than can possibly be answered within a single episode is how “Ravenswood” and “Pretty Little Liars” keep their fan base motivated to continue watching. It seems like every time one mystery is solved, ten new things unfold and the characters are left puzzled with even more questions. Perhaps the most irritating aspect of “Ravenswood” is the character Raymond, Miranda’s weird uncle whose loyalty remains incredibly questionable. His character has yet to be revealed as a villain, but he tends to give off a creepy vibe that does not make me think otherwise. After the first episodes episodes, I’ve grown very impatient with Raymond, unable to distinguish his true motive.

TYLER BLACKBURN, LUKE BENWARD, STEVEN CABRAL, MERRITT PATTERSON, BRETT DIER, LAURA ALLEN
Why you should start watching

Overall, I would recommend watching “Ravenswood”. The shocking ending to the first episode alone will leave you wanting more, as the writers don’t shy away from dramatic plot twists and turns. Of course, taking into account the awful dialogue and weakly casted characters, I realize that “Ravenswood” is definitely not for everyone.  But the show falls between the likes of “Pretty Little Liars” and “Vampire Diaries”, and while not quite scaring audiences to the degree of “American Horror Story”, “Ravenswood” remains captivating and irresistibly spooky.

Rating: 7.5/10

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About Meredith Pow

Meredith is a student at Western University, currently working towards a BA Honours Specialization in Media, Information & Technoculture. She has a passion for photography and videography, a love for television, and an obsession with reading about popular culture.

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