“Devil in Ohio” review: A Netflix series to get you in the Halloween mood

Story posted September 15, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Savannah Swartz.

Zooey Deschanel has a sister? Yep, and she stars in the new Netflix limited series “Devil in Ohio”. The series stars Emily Deschanel, Xaria Dotson, and Madeleine Arthur.

The suspense thriller is based on the book “Devil in Ohio” by Daria Polatin, and while the story itself is not based on one true event, the author did research about many different cult-like religions and ideologies to create her own fictional religion that would be eerie but still realistic. 

The plot surrounds Mae Dodd who escapes from a devil worshipping cult in a made-up town in, you guessed it, Ohio.

After escaping from her family, she is lost on the side of the road and somehow finds herself at a hospital where it is revealed that she has an upside-down pentagram symbol carved into her back.

This is also where she strikes up a relationship with Dr. Suzanne Mathis.

Suzanne has a large amount of sympathy and compassion for Mae and invites her to come live with her family until they can find her a foster home.

It is revealed later why Suzanne took so well to Mae, but her already dysfunctional family was not thrilled about this adjustment and did not understand Suzanne’s attachment.

While watching this series you spend most of the episodes wondering what is going on in this cult and what led Mae to leave. This part of the plot really keeps the audience engaged, however there are many other plotlines.

Not only is Mae’s past explored but so is Suzanne’s, whose childhood trauma is unpacked.

Along with this, Suzanne’s three daughters and husband all have their own personal drama that is revealed.

While these plotlines were interesting, they felt irrelevant and forced into the show because they didn’t have anything to do in relation to the cult. This made some episodes feel confusing.

However, the series does a remarkable job bringing all the plotlines together in the finale. There were multiple plot holes throughout the episodes that stayed unresolved, right up until the end when they were finally cleared up.

It was obvious from the first episode that this series wanted to be eerie and suspenseful while still being hip and relevant.

While Netflix series usually do alright with trying to use current slang and references, there were times that the dialogue was a bit cringey.

For example, the first scene of the show starts with Mae running through a cornfield, which is already such a cliché, but she gets to the other side and is standing on the side of the road. While trying to figure out what to do, a car drives by blaring “good 4 u” by Olivia Rodrigo.

This was a very abrupt beginning to the show, but it got the job done because within the first week of the release the show climbed to the top of the Netflix charts.

Even though some of the pop culture references struck out, the show hit a home run in the creepy department

The actual plot of the show did not become creepy until the finale when a lot of information about the cult is revealed, which is terrifying and fascinating all at the same time.

However, they keep the rest of the show scary by putting in an unnecessary amount of uneventful jump scares.

There is at least one jump scare, if not more, per episode and most of them result in nothing.

The music will build, and they will be peaking around a corner and then nothing happens. This was probably the most frustrating aspect of the show.

On another note, the cinematography in this series was done very well. There were several scenes that highlighted different symbolic items that foreshadowed things that were to come.

Personal items were very important to the characters in the show and the way they highlighted this theme was very visually pleasing.

Along with this, the music was done phenomenally. It really added to the eerie factor of many scenes.

The theme song really set the tone for the series. The theme is called “Lessons of the Fire” by Bishop Briggs and Will Bates.

The song touches on the religious aspect of the show but keeps the eerie tone. The song is off-putting, but catchy, and gets the audience in the mood for the episode.

Overall, this show was a roller coaster. It started off very slow but ended up being a very intriguing watch.

This series is definitely spooky and sets the mood for the Halloween season. If you are scared easily, don’t watch it alone.

Rating: 3/5 

Savannah Swartz is a second-year majoring in communications. To contact her, email sms9072@psu.edu .