Netflix Review – The Innocents (2018)

The Innocents is an original, well-imagined and visually stunning effort from Netflix. A top cast, engaging story and superb cinematography bring this show to life, and make it one of the most enjoyable Netflix releases in recent times. There’s little to fault about this tense, shapeshifting-based thriller.

The tale follows two teenagers – Harry (Percelle Ascott) and June (Sorcha Groundsell) – who run away from home to be with each other. Their plan doesn’t work out well, however, as they discover that June has the ability to shapeshift. She can take the form of people she touches – putting that person into a coma-like state until she changes back. The two end up on the run from people who want June for her abilities, and what ensues is a thrilling adventure. A story about love, secrets and trust that twists and turns before an unbelievable finale that will shock you to your core.

Everything about this show is slick and well-done. The writing is so good and authentic, bringing the characters’ personalities out. June and Harry have amazing on-screen chemistry, a credit to Ascott and Groundsell for stunning performances as the protagonists. All of the relationships have a genuine emotion in them, and you fast become attached to the characters. This includes the family dynamics of both June and Harry’s families. It becomes easy to forget they’re fictional as you’re so invested in them and their lives, and all the troubles and emotion they experience.

Big-budget Netflix shows carry with them an expectation for a high level of production, and The Innocents is no different. The cinematics, a treat for the eye, every scene shot thoughtfully and artfully. Revel in the cinematography: from sweeping shots of Norwegian landscapes to the streets of London. One thing truly special is a characteristic that the shapeshifters have. When they are carrying another person’s appearance, their own reflection remains in mirrors. This creates opportunities for the production team to show off as they seamlessly transition between mirror reflections and the other actors with different appearances, often in the same shot. It’s a thing of beauty, as is the CGI of the ‘shifts’.

The storyline keeps you guessing, and throws surprising twists all the way through the narrative. Harry and June’s journey takes them far and wide, and thus many kinds of people cross their path, all of which add significance to the story. There’s no wasted scenes or dialogue, and the mood ranges from periods of calm to really high-intensity scenes that have you on the edge of your seat. The well-paced plot builds slowly and provides us with clues that become important as the narrative progresses.

Arguably the most important thing in The Innocents is the shapeshifting concept which the storyline revolves around. Imagined to perfection, there are no plot holes or issues in the logic of the world of The Innocents. The lore used throughout is stayed true to and is crucial to understanding the character progression and the eventual finale.

The Innocents does very little wrong, and therefore comes highly recommended from me. Every aspect of this original and creative concept is meticulously put together; providing an engaging and exciting show that defines the term ‘binge-worthy’. Try to resist watching The Innocents in one sitting – I couldn’t.

Luke Adcock | 

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