MOVIE NEWS

Raised By Wolves Is Excellent If You Can Get Past All of Those Dead Kids

Not all art is for everyone. Sometimes even when you’re confronted with a piece of it you objectively know is good — even great — your personal hangups prevent you from embracing that truth That’s a position I recently found myself in thanks to a little show by the name of Raised By Wolves, and its love of killing kids.

I know in my heart of hearts that there is so much good in HBO Max and Aaron Guzikowski’s sci-fi masterpiece. Visually, it’s impossible to deny its status as a good show. Raised By Wolves takes the aesthetic of 1970s sci-fi and elevates it to the level of modern blockbusters as it tells the story of two androids tasked with raising human children. Some scenes are so startlingly beautiful they beg the viewer to press pause if only to take in the rich colors of the sky and the majesty of these fictional planets. Then there’s the drama’s superb acting. Amanda Collin excels as the android Mother, infusing her robotic caretaker with an equal balance of calculated coolness and explosive, human-like anger as she starts to lose control.

From the series’ first episode these well-sculpted details blend together to create a complex examination of motherhood. If caring for and loving a child is all it takes to be a mother, why can’t an android hold that title? And taken a step further, if an android is able to possess those emotions at what point do they transcend from robot to human?

All of these are worthy, complicated questions. And I can’t look too close at any of them because Raised By Wolves keeps killing kids.

Child death starts quickly in the series’ first episode and it doesn’t let up from there. Within the show’s first 10 minutes, Mother and Father (Abubakar Salim) oversee a group of human embryos as they’re being born. In the middle of this process one of the babies, a child so small that it can barely fit in two hands, is believed to be a stillborn. As Mother silently cries over this little life that was lost too soon, the baby miraculously starts crying. It’s a heartbreaking moment that will leave you both cringing and hopeful. It was also the moment I knew this show wasn’t for me.

Though Campion (Winta McGrath) survives, his siblings aren’t so lucky. Throughout Raised By Wolves‘ first episode all five of Campion’s siblings die, none of them ever coming close to adolescence. The ways they die vary in how depressing they are. One little girl falls into a deep hole, never to be seen again. Another boy succumbs to a disease known by its distinctive cough. No matter what the cause, the result is the same. By the episode’s end there are five tiny graves for five tiny people who will never experience the joys of growing up.

There are many things I can handle in pop culture. I regularly and voluntarily watch documentaries about real-life crimes, grisly murders, and harrowing abductions. I’ve seen every season of American Horror Story and delight in some of the bloodiest, goriest horror movies around. But Raised By Wolves was a bridge too far for me. In these uncertain times the methodical and unrelenting demise of these young kids felt sickening. With every vow Mother made to work harder to save her children, the next death stung more. Each grave came to represent how we can’t control anything in this life, especially death.

Undoubtably, channeling this sobering truth was writer Guzikowski and director Ridley Scott’s goal for this first episode. They deserve a loud round of applause for so concisely reminding us what little say we have over our own destinies. But for all the reasons this talented team succeeded, I’m out. Raised By Wolves may become excellent television but for my own emotional wellbeing it’s not something I’m going to watch.

Watch Raised by Wolves on HBO Max

.

Tags

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close
Close