If you like mysteriously spooky fare but you're turned off by the in-your-face splatter of The Walking Dead, you may be a fan of a brand new show airing on the Sundance Channel tonight. The Returned is a French series originally titled Les Revenants, and it's definitely being marketed for the zombie-lovers among us, what with the Halloween premiere date and the ominous trailer teaser text: "In a remote town ... loved ones return ... FROM THE DEAD."
The Returned isn't your typical flesh-eating horrorfest, though. Its zombies don't attack people, they aren't rotting into pieces, and they appear, as Slate puts it, "normal, sentient, seemingly healthy, as troubled by the meaning of their reanimation as everyone else around them."
The backstory is this: in a remote French mountain village, a seemingly random selection of people begin reappearing all over town, years after their deaths. They struggle to reconnect with their lives and to understand what they are now. In many cases, life has moved on: a mother has divorced, a fiancé is about to marry someone else, a twin lost her shared sibling identity along with her sister's death.
The first to return is a high school girl named Camille, who died four years prior when a bus full of students plunged over a cliff. Over the next several episodes, each titled after a different character, various other townspeople return. They all died at different times, but each met a violent end. Other mysteries surface along with the returned dead: gruesome murders, dropping water levels in the town, and flickering lights.
Instead of gore and ultra-violence, this show's more about nostalgia and the inability to let go. Its measured storytelling won't keep pace with the shambling bloodthirsty zombies on The Walking Dead, but The Returned definitely sounds like it has an appeal all its own. Check out some of the raves from the critics:
Here's the trailer:
Will you be checking out The Returned tonight?
Images via Sundance