The distinction between delight and catastrophe, the scene suggests, is commonly a matter of framing. “The Curse,” largely directed by Fielder, emphasizes this theme visually: Characters are shot by means of home windows, mirrored in mirrors, espied by means of chain-link fences, caught within the rectangle of an iPhone. Ash, whom Dougie is regularly making into the villain-fool of his personal TV present, sits down for make-up on set, and we see him distorted by the metallic panels of the home right into a somber ogre.
Because the Siegels and Dougie get additional into the guts of darkness, a way of doom grows (accented by the blood-rushing-through-your-head rating from Daniel Lopatin, who information as Oneohtrix Level By no means, and John Medeski). So does the thriller of what precisely “The Curse” is.
The present owes one thing to the naturalistic horror of “Rosemary’s Child” and “Don’t Look Now.” Its nuanced deal with the blind spots of people that see themselves as brokers of excellent remembers HBO’s “Enlightened.” Its Jewish themes of judgment and consequence echo the Coen brothers’ “A Severe Man”; its hints of harsh and absurd cosmic forces recommend the brief tales of Kafka.
It additionally, like “Atlanta” and the work of Jordan Peele, makes the argument that comedy and horror are separated-at-birth twins. (Kafka himself cracked up laughing whereas studying his tales to buddies.) “The Curse” works the identical dynamic of social discomfort as Fielder’s earlier work, with out the continuous launch of laughter. But it surely does what good comedy does: It knocks you off steadiness, steals your breath, turns you the other way up.
“The Curse” is disorienting and unshakable. Is it good? Remarkably — and likewise questionably. The primary few episodes are excursions de drive. The center stretch is spectacular however repetitive. The remainder — I’ll be sincere, I’m nonetheless sorting it out. The ten-episode season turns into extra inscrutable because it goes on; the unfastened ends accumulate; Whitney is made extra merciless, and Asher extra pitiable.
However for days after I completed, I couldn’t cease desirous about it, turning over its layers of that means and poking on the lingering unease. When it’s over, I anticipate viewers will spend a whole lot of time arguing about what they’ve simply seen. Like its mirrored homes, “The Curse” is an bold development, however it’s not a simple place to get snug.