All right, so I admit, I still have not watched “The Following” on FOX… all the episodes are on my DVR, I just haven’t gotten around to it. BUT, what I have watched are the first 3 episodes of “CULT,” The CW’s new “meta” mystery that’s very dark and creepy. Think “Scream” meets “The Ring” but for The CW. The opening credits remind me of a PG-13 version of the opening credits for “Seven.” It’s fun! And actually pretty complex…
I’m already realizing that this will be a little tricky to explain. In our real world, there exists this new show “CULT,” and within the fictional world of that show, there is a very niche show on The CW called “CULT” that has a growing fanbase. The lead characters of that show are Billy Grimm, who is a very creepy cult leader, and Kelly Collins, a detective who used to be in the cult. Billy is such a charismatic leader, that fans of the show are starting to reenact the scenes that happen in the show in their real world. In their real world, Billy is played by equally creepy actor Roger Reeves and Kelly is played by Marti Geritsen, and we sometimes get a look into their lives on the set of “CULT.”
Feels a little like the “Stab” movies within the “Scream” franchise, right?
In every episode so far, it starts out with a scene from the TV show “CULT” and that scene gives us clues and a theme for the rest of the episode. In comes our lead characters, Jeff (Matthew Davis – who sort of has a Brad Pitt thing going on) and Skye (Jessica Lucas – who will next be seen in the remake of “Evil Dead”), and this begins our mystery a la “The Ring.” Jeff is an investigative reporter, and his brother Nate is this semi-unhinged guy who’s hooked on this “CULT” show. In the pilot, we learn from Nate that this TV show is trying to harm him, which sounds crazy to us and Jeff, but we soon realize it’s not crazy at all. Nate has disappeared, and Jeff is doing everything he can to find him. He meets Skye, who is a researcher/production assistant on the show “CULT,” and who thinks the show is kinda shady, especially since she never sees the executive producer, Steven Rae, in the office. Side note: at the end of every episode, there’s a title that says Executive Produced by Steven Rae, which always freaks me out. Not sure if Steven Rae is a real person… can’t find him on the show’s IMDB page.
I actually forget how Jeff and Skye even meet, but what’s important is what’s bringing them together. Jeff needs Skye because she knows more about the show and its rabid fanbase than he does (and also knows more about timecodes and audio editing tricks that come in handy). Skye needs Jeff because now she has a confidant and partner who’s going through the same thing she is. We find out in an episode that Skye actually took the job on “CULT” because she wanted to get to know Steven Rae. Why? Because her father, who’s been missing for 10 years, was investigating Steven Rae! Could he have kidnapped or killed her father? So many twists and turns, I love it!
Each episode finds Jeff and Skye getting a little closer to finding their family members, and a little deeper into the world of “CULT.” When they discover creepy video tapes that have clips from “CULT” and hidden messages, they’re all of a sudden marked and being watched. Jeff even gets a surprise call from his brother asking him, “Why did you watch it?!” They really can’t trust anyone they talk to – even the female detective they sometimes have to work with is up to something, since she hides one of those square-shaped sinister tattoos on her arm. When they talk to people who know/knew Nate, they find themselves in a mini-mystery of the week… just this past week in Episode 3, they were on a college campus and in the middle of a “game” inspired by “CULT.” Students were reenacting scenes and filming them, and apparently Nate used to be in charge of this game, but now someone new is. A “true believer.” Murders ensue, identities are revealed, Jeff and Skye (and we) are confused and horrified. It’s great.
And technically, Jeff and Skye are not the only ones putting themselves in danger. Roger and Marti might not be all that safe either. Marti is starting to worry that being on the show “CULT” is too overwhelming for her. Roger “bumps” into a female fan, Kirstie, on the street, and since he’s slimy, invites her to the “CULT” set for a private tour. He’s definitely a little creeped out that Kirstie knows about his childhood, when no one else does. Little does he know that Kirstie and a gang of “CULT” followers have kidnapped the CW network executive and have plans for Roger. Or at least I think they do – I hope I’m getting all of my facts straight!
One of the creepiest things about the show is Billy’s catchphrase, “Well hey, these things just snap right off.” I don’t get it yet, and whenever it’s spoken, usually it happens right before something scary happens or someone kills themselves. Yikes.
I hear “The Following” is good, and renewed for a second season, but I just want to also spread the word that “CULT” is good, too! It’s already been moved from Tuesday nights to Friday nights, so the buzz isn’t great. The CW has had great luck with other dark shows like “The Vampire Diaries,” “Supernatural,” and this season’s hit “Arrow,” so I hope they give this show a chance. It’s more exciting than watching “Gossip Girl” or “Hart of Dixie,” that’s for sure.