Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy Valley - Action, Suspence and Scenes Horrifying to the Imagination

I give Happy Valley, currently streaming on Netflix Canada, a 9.5 out of 10.  I absolutely loved it.

This British drama has only six episodes but a big impact. It follows a 50-something female police sergeant and a series of linked criminal events that take the viewer on a suspenseful ride.

The lead character starts the series as very pleasant, but with a determined grit about her.  In the first 30 minutes, you can see that she carries a lot of emotion behind her hard exterior. And we find out that she has had a lot to deal with including a sister who is a former drug addict and who now lives with her and her grandson. In the first episode, we can see there is something deeper in her story, and it has to do with a man who has been released from prison earlier in the day.

The story starts off simple enough, and we nearly begin to believe it could be one of those typical crime dramas where a new crime is highlighted in each episode.  However, that is not how this series turns out. A crime occurs that seems simple enough (to the criminals, at least), and it takes unexpected turns for both the characters and the viewers. There are moments when you might find yourself yelling at the screen in an attempt at telling certain characters that they are making stupid decisions.

The writers and direct did a wonderful job of producing a crime drama that was not all that graphic, but rather left an imprint of horror on the viewers imagination.  Blood, guts and severed heads could not equal the scenes in Happy Valley where murder is left to ones imagination.  For instance, in one murder scene a car is driven over a person several times, back and forth, back and forth. We never see the body get hit, but only the driver and the thud sound of his car as it goes over the body, time and horrifying time again.  The scene is emotionally draining on the viewer, because it leaves a lot to the imagination, and because the character who is killed is so very likable.

So if you are a fan of British crime dramas and like the grit that comes with them, I highly recommend that your check out Happy Valley on Netflix. And for more info on the series, check out Wikipedia's description here, where you can also learn about a second Happy Valley series filming in early 2015.

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