Home TV Shows Reviews ‘The Horror of Dolores Roach’ Prime Video Series Review - This Dark Comedy is Enjoyable and Funny

‘The Horror of Dolores Roach’ Prime Video Series Review - This Dark Comedy is Enjoyable and Funny

The series follows Dolores Roach, who returns to a gentrified Washington Heights after an unjust 16-year prison sentence and reunites with an old stoner friend, Luis

Vikas Yadav - Thu, 06 Jul 2023 23:04:59 +0100 2045 Views
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When Dolores (Justina Machado) comes out of prison after 16 long years, she realizes that the world around her has changed drastically. Her old neighborhood is mostly gentrified, and she is hit with unemployment. Dolores also learns about - and is shocked by - inflation when she confuses $11000 with $1100. And she is inappropriately touched while giving a massage to a customer. In one of the scenes, the sudden flow of water from a tap acts as a source of a jump scare. All these instances cannot be labeled as "supernatural" or "gory." Yet, they are meant to be scary, and this is precisely what fascinates you about this series: The horror in The Horror of Dolores Roach is often generated through events that seem "ordinary." What's more, these moments are also infused with comic energy.


This means the genre here is horror-comedy, and The Horror of Dolores Roach, for the most part, excels at it. The framing device - Dolores narrating her story to a theater actor - comes with a commentary (artists exploit other people's lives for their benefit) and initially comes across as silly. But by the end, you understand that this show is meant to be crazy. The writers (Aaron Mark, Mariah Wilson, Dara Resnik, Michelle Badillo, Joe Hortua, Brian Otaño, and Daphne Rubin-Vega) and the directors (Hiromi Kamata, Eduardo Sánchez, America Young, Roxann Dawson, and Edward Ornelas) gleefully play with tones and expectations. For instance, when Dolores sees a butchered corpse for the first time, you expect the soundscape to blow up with loud noises. However, the scene is surprisingly calm and silent (until it hits you with a gotcha moment). The series steadily jumps from one mood to another until it mixes them uncontrollably.


The Horror of Dolores Roach has chuckle-worthy scenes, like the one where Nellie (Kita Updike) is asked to take care of customers at an empty restaurant. But the show really shines when it serves us delicious dark comedy. Just wait till you see a "dead" man with a boner or the madness that unfolds after a victim becomes conscious on top of a woman. Being a serial killer is not easy, which is why Dolores screams she doesn't want to be one. You can call her An Accidental Serial Killer. Here is a woman who cannot stay away from trouble. She wants to lead a normal life, but she is in the company of a man who encourages her killer instincts. He is Luis (Alejandro Hernandez), a cannibal who uses Dolores' victims for his business. He makes empanadas out of human flesh, which gives rise to one of the funniest and most disturbing moments in the series, which I won't spoil.


Luis and Dolores are a twisted couple who could use therapy. Their love, however, reaches surprisingly tender territories. Sure, these two are unhinged, but they are also sweet and supportive. Luis helps Dolores find a job through one of his contacts, and she comforts him after listening to his history. This means The Horror of Dolores Roach dips its toes in sentimentality, and those moments feel weak. Moreover, the show becomes exhausting when it reaches the finish line, as during these portions, its tonal balance is not handled properly. You admire the intention, but the execution is dissatisfying. For all its wild and interesting swings, The Horror of Dolores Roach still isn't able to get rid of a problem that infects many series': They lose their grip after a while, and you begin to wonder if the show would have been better as a 2-hour-long film.


But The Horror of Dolores Roach has more pluses, so it never becomes an abomination. All the actors are perfect in their parts and are in sync with the material. Of course, the highlight here is none other than Machado, and she deserves every bit of your praise and attention. In her hands, Dolores comes across as a flawed individual who makes you accept her actions without allowing you to hate or pass judgment on her. Hernandez puts himself on the same level as Machado, and both of them look good together. They inject vigor into their scenes and make it almost impossible for us to look away from them, as well as the screen. The Horror of Dolores Roach may be imperfect, but it's also enjoyable and funny.


Final Score- [7.5/10]
Reviewed by - Vikas Yadav
Follow @vikasonorous on Twitter
Publisher at Midgard Times
Note: All eight episodes are screened for this review.
Premiere Date: July 07, 2023, on Prime Video

 

 

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