Justina Machado is a murderous masseuse on this darkly humorous adaptation of the hit play turned podcast.
PLOT: Dolores Roach is launched after an unjust 16-year jail sentence, and he or she returns to a now-gentrified Washington Heights neighborhood. She reunites with an outdated stoner good friend, Luis, who lets her stay and work as a masseuse within the basement underneath his empanada store. When the promise of her newfound stability is threatened, she should go to extremes to outlive.
REVIEW: It’s robust to say whether or not the golden age of tv is prospering or ending. With the streaming wars imploding, the depth and breadth of content material on the small display screen has by no means been greater. However, with dozens upon dozens of collection, many’s high quality appears questionable. The newest collection to debut is The Horror of Dolores Roach. A co-production between Amazon Studios and Blumhouse, The Horror of Dolores Roach is an adaptation of the hit podcast of the identical title, which, in flip, was an adaptation of a stage play. Harking back to the musical Sweeney Todd, The Horror of Dolores Roach is a macabre story that dips into darkish comedy and horror with robust themes about class and socio-economics. Whereas The Horror of Dolores Roach is numerous issues, persistently entertaining isn’t one in every of them. Regardless of a terrific main flip by Justina Machado, this collection fails to warrant a full season.
Justina Machado portrays the title character, a girl who takes the autumn for her important different and spent the final twenty years behind bars for drug-related offenses. Now freed, Dolores returns to her New York Metropolis neighborhood to search out the minority residents pushed out, the rents sky-high, and nobody she used to know round. With no cash or prospects, Dolores runs into outdated good friend Luis Batista (Alejandro Hernandez), proprietor of Empanada Loca. Luis offers Dolores a room within the basement, the place she runs a makeshift therapeutic massage parlor. Along with her stress on the breaking level, Dolores offers in at a susceptible second leading to a lifeless physique on her desk. When questioning eliminate the corpse, Luis takes the unconventional strategy of utilizing the flesh to make empanadas. Because the collection progresses, the physique depend rises, as does satire and gore.
Evoking the Broadway musical Sweeney Todd, The Horror of Dolores Roach does not likely get into the horror a part of the story within the first half-hour episode. A lot of the time is spent introducing Dolores by way of a play throughout the collection, which recounts her cannibalistic crimes in a one-woman present. Since this collection relies on a one-woman present itself, it virtually seems like collection creator Aaron Mark, who wrote the play and podcast, can be making a commentary in regards to the obsession with true crime lately. Heavy with voice-over narration, the collection has the rhythm of a stage play, with Justina Machado delivering a stellar main function that’s without delay robust and terrifying. Machado makes Dolores really feel like an actual particular person enduring a really troublesome interval in her life, and director Roxann Dawson does good work capturing the dramatic a part of the story. As soon as the physique depend begins, the collection devolves right into a spoof of itself, with solely Machado staying dramatic whereas everybody round her appears to be enjoying for laughs.
Other than Machado, the following greatest function within the collection comes from Alejandro Batista. Batista performs Luis, the proprietor of Empanada Loca, who additionally has a crush on Dolores. Luis is the equal of Nellie Lovett from Sweeney Todd, and Batista performs the character as barely unhinged. The collection additionally options Kita Updike because the Empanada Loca cashier, Nellie, and neighboring enterprise proprietor Pleasure (Jean Yoon). The trailers use Marc Maron and Judy Reyes as victims of Dolores’ murderous therapeutic massage expertise. There’s additionally a terrific flip by Cyndi Lauper as a non-public investigator. The collection begins with a heavier sensibility concerning the murders and Dolores’ function earlier than abandoning any logic because the blood begins to move. As a narrative, The Horror of Dolores Roach appears to have one thing to say about one thing, however it’s onerous to inform if there’s a message buried within the plot or simply the illusion of 1 that by no means fairly comes collectively beneath the gore that gleefully flows via all eight half-hour episodes.
Whereas increasing the stage play Empanada Loca into the narrative podcast, showrunner Aaron Mark added different characters. The collection model fleshes out these characters much more, however even the eight-episode run of the story appears too lengthy, with the fabric feeling stretched in lots of respects. The directing workforce, which additionally consists of Eduardo Sanchez, Hiromi Kamata, America Younger, and Edward Ornelas, hones in on the Latin-infused tradition pushed out of the gentrified Washington Heights space, however the deal with the gory execution of Dolores’ anger overshadows any messages this story could have wished to inform. Regardless of the inclusion of the phrase within the title, there may be little or no horror to be discovered on this collection which begins to really feel repetitive because the murders and dispatching of the corpses tread water for the majority of the collection’ center entries.
The Horror of Dolores Roach was one in every of my most anticipated new collection of the yr and left me underwhelmed. Not critical sufficient to be scary and never constant sufficient to be humorous, Aaron Mark’s collection finally ends up feeling like a half-baked try at modernizing Sweeney Todd. It’s a disgrace, as Justina Machado is stellar within the title function and creates a personality with sufficient layers and nuance that by no means will get explored satisfactorily. With the podcast lasting for 2 seasons, this may very well be the beginning of a bigger story targeted on the character, nevertheless it ends in such an anticlimactic manner that I didn’t have a lot urge for food to revisit this story past this season. The saving grace is that The Horror of Dolores Roach clocks in at lower than 4 hours, nevertheless it feels unsatisfying and boring for an excessive amount of of even that transient operating time.
The Horror of Dolores Roach premieres on July seventh on Prime Video.