Go ahead, think of the most disturbingly scary film you’ve ever seen. The Exorcist, you would say. Or perhaps The Grudge, or any other B-grade cult gorefest. Now multiply that with 10 and you’ll get the level of disturbing Netflix’s Marianne can get you to. With a premise interesting enough to keep you intrigued, coupled with the atmosphere and music to make spiders crawl down your spine, Marianne has gone on to win (and haunt) hearts on the internet, so much so that it shares the privilege of getting a rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes along with timeless horror classics like The Frankenstein. But what makes the show this effective? Read on as we find out why Netflix’s Marianne is Scarier Than Any big-budget Hollywood Horror Film.
The Premise of Netflix’s Marianne
Marianne is an 8-episode French horror series (you can watch with English dubbing or in French with English subtitles) that follows the story of a young writer called Emma. She’s writing a book based on her own nightmares about a witch. When she returns to her hometown, she discovers that the witch and the other characters in her novel are all real. The evil spirit called Marianne insists Emma keep writing the book. She then has to figure out how to end the books in order to kill the terrifying old lady witch from her nightmares. Now that’s what we call an original plot! The show barely strolls away from the main premise and keeps you focused on the evil that is Marianne. It never gives you a single chance to divert your focus towards the bond Emma shares with her friends or family and just when you least expect it, the evil witch strikes.
The Visuals of Netflix’s Marianne
Marianne is disturbing for one good reason. It’s visually stunning. The long shots of waves crashing at the shore of the small town, the never-ending rotations of the lantern of the town’s lighthouse and bird’s-eye view of Elden leaves you breathless as the scenarios captivate you to visit the fictional town at least once. But each such stunning shot is also coupled with the hauntingly deserted streets of the town, the creepy Madame Daugeron staring right into your soul and five children attempting to hang themselves to death. The images are not to vacate your mind even long after the show us over. Oh, and the final manifestation of the titular witch is surely not for the faint of heart.
The Protagonist of Netflix’s Marianne
Emma Larsimon, played brilliantly by Victoire Du Bois is not your everyday witch hunter, but rather a famed author with a dark past of things she’s done. The character is flawed to the core but she’s ready to face the consequences of her actions. She’s determined to fight off the evil but is equally scared like us. She wants to kill the venom that’s poisoning her town but is not sure how just like us. We tend to see ourselves in Emma and what scares us is the very thought of ourselves ever being stuck in a situation like hers.
The Witch of Netflix’s Marianne
Like every great character, Marianne also has a backstory to tell us firmly that this ghostly apparition was once in its human form. Married to a demon, Marianne practiced witchcraft in the town and would sacrifice children (even her own) to satisfy her god’s. The villagers tried and executed her and left the body to rot in the ground. But all didn’t end as a piece of paper with ancient cult markings rests beside her dead body and it needs to be burnt to prevent Marianne from ever manifesting again. Of course that plan didn’t work and after that Marianne apparently wrote her own fate. A master manipulator, Marianne is like an omnipresent stench of everything bad you’ve ever witnessed. Her first possession, Madame Daugeron has a face only a blind mother could love. He creepy smile must have been carved in the viewers’ minds by now. But this old lady doesn’t hold a candle to Marianne’s other appearances. From a little dead girl to her stuffed toy, to a Babadookian look (with her long tongue stretched out of her mouth) each appearance is most ghastly than the last. You’ve not a Villian badder, and more evil than Marianne.