Netflix's Requiem is far from a dream — it's a straight up nightmare. The latest mystery thriller to hit the streaming service last month (it originally premiered on BBC One) tells the story of Matilda (Lydia Wilson) who goes down a dangerous, and cursed path after the sudden and traumatic death of her mother.
The story stretches over six (at times slow) episodes, with one scene in the finale that is so haunting, I dare you not to wince. It's basically Twin Peaks meets mother! meets The Sinner, which means it is pretty damn good.
Requiem may have slipped under your radar even if you are a fan of psychological thrillers because it was released around the same time as Collateral, Tabula Rasa, and Wild, Wild Country. All of these are wildly different shows, but they all appeal to the same type of viewer. One is more focused on crime in an urban landscape, the other mental health and motherhood, and the last one is a documentary about a sex cult. Believe it or not, Requiem has elements of all of these, and is absolutely worth the binge.
This story would be no fun without teasing a few spoilers, many of which you learn early on in the season, but for full transparency, stop reading here if you want to know NOTHING about the series other than the fact that Matilda has the best set of bangs I've seen in 2018. If you're willing to take a bit of a journey with me, then read on.
Matilda is a talented cellist who appears to be living an ordinary life of near A-list fame for her orchestral talents. She and her musical partner Hal (Joel Fry) are meant to travel to New York and see their career sky rocket when Matilda's life is suddenly derailed. The night of a big show, her mother meets her behind the theatre looking frazzled with smeared makeup and a rumpled dress. She holds a knife up to her throat, and kills herself in a full trance. Matilda has no idea what happened to her supportive and demure mother, but eventually finds a box of newspaper clippings and photos in her mother's home hinting at a connection between Matilda and a missing child named Carys Howell. Hal accompanies Matilda to a small Welsh town to uncover the connection between Matilda's mother and Carys, whose kidnapping is now a 23 year old cold case.
That's all in the first episode.
What starts as a story of a missing child eventually divulges into Matilda exposing a secret cult within the quiet town. There's constant talk of full moons, suppressed memories, and seances to communicate with angels. Instead of focusing on witchcraft, this show instead talks about the cult of angels and the darkness in less traditional worships. It approaches the idea of cults, sacrifice, and small-town folklore in a new and imaginative way. What also makes Requiem different than other movies about missing children, or mysteriously unsolved cold cases, is that Matilda is a fairly reliable narrator. While she is investigating and learning information about Carys she is taking photos of clues on her phone, calling in friends to help look up information, and scribbling notes to remember obscure details. Her behavior, although at times erratic, made it easy to keep up with the show (unlike, say, The OA or Dark).
With the surrealism of Twin Peaks, the torment of mother!, and the intense theology of The Sinner, Requiem will feel like a heavenly binge, with a welcome dark twist.
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