“The river flowed quiet again, reaching toward a gentler shore.” – William Peter Blatty, from The Exorcist
There are stories which are so affecting, so deeply impactful, that they become the standard-bearer for their genre – or for stories in general. To the horror fan, one of the unrivaled masterpiece standard bearers is The Exorcist. The author of that novel, and of the screenplay which became the film, has passed away.
Have you ever had the privilege to sit around a crackling campfire and listen to somebody’s unshaven, twisty-haired grandpa tell you a ghost story? You know, the ones where it’s almost as silly as it is scary, but at just the right moments he’ll quiet down, almost to a whisper, right before shouting his next word with a leap and a burst and causing everyone within earshot to jump right off their seats?
Netflix has certainly earned its place among the pioneers of serialized storytelling. Their original films, though ranging in quality, have certainly established a brand to notice and to follow. Among the latest additions to that brand is an eight-chapter story called The OA, which poses as a mini-series but feels more akin to a seven and a half hour film (or a short novel for TV viewers).
Knowing how much to reveal about The OA is tricky. There are elements of this story which deserve to be discovered rather than briefly summarized. However to say anything substantial demands a certain disclosure of narrative beats.