The Strain

FX, Sundays 10 p.m.

Jul 11, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Minutes before it lands in New York, a plane carrying 210 passengers from Berlin ceases all communication. It maintains radio silence on the runway; every window shade save one is closed, and the plane is eerily dark. Suspecting a possible terrorist threat, first responders call in the Center for Disease Control. CDC agent Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) boards the jet with partner Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro), and the two of them encounter a strange and inexplicable sceneall but four of the people on board are dead from an unidentifiable cause. While the CDC investigates, an undocumented, large wooden container filled with dirtdescribed best as a coffingoes missing from the cargo hold. As the survivors succumb to their unknown illness, dead passengers reanimate, and the body count rises.

Co-created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, The Strain incorporates as much camp as gross-out effects. The mystery disease, transmitted by carnivorous worms somehow spawned from a vampire-esque creature, transforms its victims in grotesque ways, which the producers don't shy away from showing. Viewers might cringe at the image of a disgustingly mutated, exposed beating heart one moment, and then laugh aloud at corny dialogue or an absurd death the next. The Strain doesn't seem to take itself too seriously, and audiences shouldn't, either. Del Toro's work often straddles the line between horror and paranormal, and this show is no exception. For fans craving the next dark, disturbing weekly watch in the spirit of The Walking Dead, The Strain will prove too cheeky and eye-roll inducing. Those that appreciate late '90s B-horror flicks such as The Faculty might enjoy The Strain for the kind of creepy, often goofy ride it is, even though it never gets too deep. (

Author rating: 6/10

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