Blumhouse and Hulu’s horror anthology series Into the Dark sees a new installment each month, focused on a holiday in that month. With the series halfway through its second season, we have plenty of episodes in the horrifying series.
This week will mark the debut of the show’s first sequel (of sorts) when “Pooka 2: Pooka Lives” debuts on Hulu. With that in mind, what better time to look back at the show’s 10 best episodes before watching the upcoming sequel.
Stil in the bottom half of the series’ 18 installments (to this point), “Down” is far from the best episode of Into the Dark. Still, it is a fun story with a bit of a twist. It starts off as a very real world nightmare – being stuck in an elevator – with a total stranger, and ends up being a very different type of horror – dealing with a dangerous stalker. “Down” doesn’t provide the same level of suspense most other episodes do, but it does provide a bit of fun and some great chemistry between its cast.
The Mother’s Day installment of Into the Dark is a sci-fi thriller following Dr. Victoria Harris and her mission to help her son to deal with his mysterious affliction. This episode builds the suspense right from the beginning and while it may make you play the guessing game a tad too long, it will certainly draw you in with its twists and turns. It’s a bit strange, which is the case for most episodes, but if you’re willing to accept an odd sci-fi story, you’ll enjoy “All That We Destroy.”
While this is a horror series, very few installments will have you checking under your bed at night. However, “They Come Knocking” is one that just might. In fact, to quote my review of this episode, “my thoughts on ‘They Come Knocking’ are: NOPE! Nope nope nope nope nope.” With that being said, it’s a very good story with a great cast. Plus, there’s something to be said about a horror that actually accomplishes the goal of terrifying its viewers.
If there’s one thing Into the Dark struggles with, it’s the occasional heavy-handedness of its morals. “Culture Shock” tells the story of a Mexican woman in pursuit of the American Dream before she is caught and used as a test subject for some horrible experiments. It’s, let’s say, less-than-subtle. Still, it’s a different, interesting story with lots of over-the-top visuals and some great characters.
Like “Culture Shock,” this one struggles with its heavy-handedness. However, it also gives us a very creepy character that will keep you very uncomfortable, something many episodes fail to do. In fact, “Pure” is filled with likeable and hateable characters that will have you picking a side in no time.
Body-snatching aliens taking over a town that has already been overrun by a drunken St. Patrick’s Day celebration? Sounds like fun. “Crawlers” is not one of those intense thrillers with a twist at every turn. It’s just a fun, action-packed sci-fi adventure with lots of enjoyable characters and some great humor. It’s not one to take too seriously, and it lets you know that early on.
Like “They Come Knocking,” this is one installment that really ups the horror level for this series. Blumhouse has created some truly terrifying characters throughout their films, and Annie is right up there with all of them. “Uncanny Annie” is an interesting mixture of horror and fun though, essentially creating a terrifying version of Jumanji. Don’t start playing the game if you’re not willing to finish.
If you enjoy a good slasher, “School Spirit” is the episode for you. This installment is essentially The Breakfast Club meets Scream, with all the best parts of both. It’s not going to keep you up at night and it’s not a terrifying psychological thriller, but if you like that light-hearted, fun style of horror, you’ll enjoy “School Spirit.” Plus, it has one of the best villains Into the Dark has to offer.
Christmas is everyone’s favorite time of year right? For whatever reason, the holiday spirit must have gotten into the team at Blumhouse because “A Nasty Piece of Work” is much closer to a comedy than it is a horror. The whole story is based around a boss making two of his employes literally compete for a promotion during a dinner at his home. Not really your typical horror plot. Throw in some of the most ridiculous characters you’ve ever seen, and you’re going to laugh your way through this one in the best way possible.
Christmas episodes seem to work best for Into the Dark. “Pooka!” is the very best this horror series has to offer and, quite frankly, nothing else is close. This installment has everything: a great cast, a catchy jingle, a truly bizarre and captivating original character and just the right amount of horror. On top of all that, “Pooka!” is just a great story that will keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing what’s going to happen next. It draws some inspiration from A Christmas Carol, giving it another connection to the holiday on which it is based. But over everything else, it’s got Pooka. And that’s all it really needs.
“Pooka 2: Pooka Lives” will debut on Hulu on Friday, April 3. Be sure to check out our reviews of previous episodes and check back each month to see just what Into the Dark has in store next.