From the sinister minds that brought you The Purge, Happy Death Day and Paranormal Activity, comes the new Hulu original horror series Into the Dark, which turns every holiday into a complete nightmare. The new horror anthology series will feature different actors in each episode, with a new episode being released each month focusing on a holiday from that month.
The 10th installment in the horror series is titled “Culture Shock” and it focuses on the Fourth of July. The episode follows Marisol, a pregnant Mexican woman in pursuit of the American dream. When she attempts to cross the border though, she instead finds nothing but a nightmare.
I have to say, for the first half hour or so, “Culture Shock” felt like a complete outlier in the Into the Dark series in that it wasn’t at all weird. Everything was very straight forward, real people with real world problems in relatable situations. It was actually starting to feel strange that it wasn’t hitting that Into the Dark level of strangeness I’ve become accustomed to.
Then it turns a corner and oh does it get strange. In fact, it may even hit a new level of strange. “Culture Shock” very quickly goes from being a dark, real-world drama to, let’s say Get Out meets The Good Place. But also throw in a little bit of The Matrix and the gore of The Purge. Sound like a bizarre, bloody, mind-bending smoothie of a movie? Cause that’s what it felt like watching it.
Marisol finds herself trapped in a creepily strange representation of America where every day seems to be repeating itself as the robotic locals become overly interested in her. That is, until she catches on to what’s going on and jumps through one of those portals from Super Mario 64. From there, it just keeps getting more and more bizarre but I won’t spoil anything.
I will say, it wasn’t at all scary. I’m just getting back to a regular sleep schedule after last month’s “They Come Knocking” and this one isn’t going to disrupt that. That being said, if you find something like Get Out scary, then yeah, maybe “Culture Shock” will cost you some sleep.Otherwise, you’re good.
That’s not so say it’s completely without horror. The first half of the show is loaded with real-world horror, peering into the mind of a helpless victim and all the psychological damage she’s struggling through. The second half becomes a sci-fi thriller with just enough bizarre creepiness to make you feel uncomfortable as you watch.
Any issues Into the Dark has never comes from its cast. The acting was once again fantastic in this episode. Martha Higareda, who plays Marisol, does a fantastic job and keeps you invested the whole way through. Shawn Ashmore plays a compelling, complex and conflicted villain type who you can never really bring yourself to hate.
Overall, “Culture Shock” is not my favorite episode of Into the Dark but it’s far from the worst. It’s an interesting story and it’s certainly relevant but it’s just too bizarre for me. If you like things like The Purge and Get Out and are ok with a bit of a sci-fi twist, you might enjoy this one. Otherwise, just go back and watch “Pooka!”… again.
“Culture Shock” premieres on Hulu on July 4, with subsequent episodes of Into the Dark coming each month for a full year. Be sure to check out our reviews of previous episodes and check back for more reviews of this new Hulu original as I try to help you decide if each episode will cost you hours of sleep.
Mike is a writer that has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd.”