IMDb rating: 8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 96%Watch full episodes now
Written by Misha Green (Sons of Anarchy) and directed by the modern-day king of horror, Jordan Peele, and sci-fi genius JJ Abrams, Lovecraft Country puts a unique and, at times jarring, twist on horror fiction.
Based on Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel of the same name, the series takes us back to the Jim Crow era in the 1950s, a time when segregation was front and centre of the American landscape, the Civil Rights movement was starting to take flight, and US soldiers were being shipped off to the brutal Vietnam war.
Enter 25-year-old Atticus “Tic” Freeman, played by up-and-coming actor Jonathan Majors. Atticus returns from Korea to his hometown in search of his missing father. He teams up with his uncle George (Courtney B Vance) and friend Letitia “Leti” Dandridge (Jurnee Smollett) as they travel through segregated America.
On their journey, they not only come up against gun-wielding racists, they also face the Sons of Adam, a mysterious cult living in a dodgy mansion – and that’s just in the first episode.
What genre is Lovecraft Country?
To call Lovecraft Country genre-bending is no understatement. With elements of science fiction, fantasy, horror, period drama, action, even comedy, this gorgeously shot and styled series refuses to be put in a box! Let’s take a look at some of the genres and themes:
- Science fiction: Nothing can quite prepare you for the ***SPOILER*** opening scene of Lovecraft Country, where UFOs and aliens run amok while our protagonist, Atticus Freeman, runs for his life! It’s a jolt that throws your expectations for this series offtrack, and reminds you of that other sci-fi classic, War of The Worlds (also on Showmax, btw). And if you adore sci-fi, episode 7 is a wormhole of delight!
- Horror: Monsters with teeth and claws and dripping with goo, like the kind you’ve seen in shows like The X Files and Fringe. Very realistic body horror that includes arms that have been ripped off, and humans who slough off their skin in a bloody mess. Vengeful ghosts who float about with their fatal injuries on display. Author and monster aficionado HP Lovecraft did not shy away from the weird and horror genres, and neither does Lovecraft Country.
- Fantasy: Just a sprinkle of magical books, secret languages and the occasional very handsome warlock means that literally, anything is possible in the world of Atticus Freeman.
- Period drama: You can’t talk about Lovecraft Country and not talk about the set design and wardrobe. Set in 1950s America, the production takes the styles of the day, typically worn by white characters, and dresses up its black cast lavishly. It’s a joy to see Leti in full 50s regalia, and Atticus in his skin-tight shirts and trousers. Major themes of the time include racism and segregation, women’s rights and the Vietnam War and its casualties.
- LGBTQ+: You might be surprised to find out that there are gay characters sprinkled throughout the plot, from the repressed to the flamboyant, and all critical to the story.
- Action-comedy: There is something distinctly gung-ho and Indiana Jones-ish about some of the mysteries that need solving, as Atticus and Leti explore underground chambers, pick their way through dusty skeletons and run away from ghouls and ghosts in their search for ancient relics.
Newsday says, “To call Lovecraft Country ‘wildly original’ seems almost a quaint understatement. But it is wild. And original. Little doubt about that.”
New episodes land on DStv Now every Monday night, and the first four episodes are available to stream on Showmax (with the following four available on Showmax on 6 October, and the final two on 20 October, just after the US finale).