Strain, The: Season 1 [3 Disc] (Blu-ray)
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|Contributor||Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Chuck Hogan, Kevin Durand, Guillermo Del Toro|
|Number of discs||3|
- Language : English
- Product Dimensions : 135 x 13 x 170 cm; 120 Grams
- Director : Chuck Hogan, Guillermo Del Toro
- Media Format : Blu-ray
- Release date : 24 August 2016
- Actors : Corey Stoll, Kevin Durand, David Bradley
- Studio : 20th Century Fox
- ASIN : B01JLQX58M
- Country of origin : Australia
- Number of discs : 3
- Best Sellers Rank: 13,097 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- 3,032 in TV Shows (Movies & TV)
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When a freak virus kills most of the passengers on an airplane, Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), head of the Centre for Disease Control's "Canary Team," is immediately called to the scene. The only way to stop the terrifying disease is to face its source - a sinister supernatural creature whose evil intent seems more powerful than any force on Earth - in this chilling series that also stars Mia Maestro, David Bradley and Sean Astin.
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Top review from Australia
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And anyone who has seen "Blade II" will probably know what to expect of "The Strain Season 1," adapted from Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan's gloriously grotesque horror novel. It's a slow, increasingly grotesque build up to the inevitable vampire apocalypse (which is like the zombie apocalypse, but worse), hampered mainly by the fact that the main character is a very whiny, unsympathetic person.
When JFK International Airport loses contact with an incoming plane, it's suspected that there is a deadly contagion on board. CDC doctors Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) and Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro) are sent to investigate, and find that all but four passengers are inexplicably dead. There is also a giant antique cabinet missing from the hold, which Jim Kent (Sean Astin) has arranged for ex-con Gus (Miguel Gomez) to smuggle out of the airport. Bad idea.
The only person who seems to know what is going on is a Harlem antique dealer, Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley), who tries to tell Eph that all the bodies and the cabinet must be destroyed. They really should have listened to him. In the days that follow, the released survivors begin to sicken and transform (losing their hair, genitals, normal eyelids) -- and the dead ones vanish, only to reappear in the homes of their loved ones.
As the vampires increase in number, Eph and Nora are forced to acknowledge the reality of what is happening: an ancient vampire is taking over New York, with the help of a corrupt billionaire, a hacker and an undead Nazi. So the few remaining humans who understand what's going on must band together to stop the Master, while also keeping their loved ones out of the Master's grasp.
"The Strain" feels a little like a modern version of Bram Stoker's "Dracula." The opening episode is reminiscent of the ruined ship filled with dead men landing on England's shore... but with modern cities and easy transportation, it's a lot easier for vampirism to spread. And of course, lots of people who automatically dismiss anything with a whiff of the supernatural, even if there is a scientific explanation for what's going on (namely, white worms).
And trust me, it's nightmarish -- worms burrowing into flesh, gore, Nazis, the transformation into screeching stinger-tongued vampires, and the claustrophobic sensation of being trapped in a convenience store by a bunch of Strigoi. Even Mr. Quinlan, a relatively friendly vampire commando, is still very freaky. And perhaps the most horrifying aspect of them is the idea that a newly-turned vampire will hunt down and turn their loved ones into monsters like itself -- it's a very emotional idea.
What can defuse the scariness? Well, the Master. They should have just kept his hood on. He was scarier that way -- very fluid and fast and grotesque... and when we see his face, it's just silly.
The story begins very slowly, introducing the vampire threat bit by bit, fragment by fragment. Every episode contributes to the various characters, most of whom are not directly connected until the vampire threat starts to pull them together. And as a bonus, viewers are also shown the history of Eichhorst and Abraham in the Nazi death camps, and how Abraham became the Van Helsing of this story. Yes, I recognize the literary allusion.
However.... Eph is a horrible protagonist. Stoll does a decent job, but he's fundamentally playing a very whiny, hypocritical person who uses his job as a way to avoid dealing with messy emotional issues (sorry, just don't buy that he's ALWAYS needed at the CDC), and complains about his wife's boyfriend after having an affair. After a few episodes, his self-righteous I'm-always-right petulance becomes downright irritating.
Maestro doesn't have a lot of chemistry with him, but she gives a pretty good performance as a stressed, increasingly desperate woman who wants to keep her dementia-addled mother safe. Bradley is also quite awesome as an elderly pawnbroker who also kills vampires with a silver sword-cane, and keeps a vampire heart in a jar in his house. Just try to beat that. There are also some excellent performances by Astin, Kevin Durand as a tough rat exterminator, and Richard Sammel as a vampire who was a horror even before he died.
"The Strain Season 1" is a slow descent into bloodsucking, worm-riddled nightmare fuel, which is mainly hampered by a protagonist who needs a swift kick to the gut. For those who want their vampires to actually be scary, look no further.
Top reviews from other countries
Sadly this is the only one of the 4 series of the Strain which has been released in the UK in region 2 DVD format, so to keep following the series beware, either you'll need to get an italian import (series 2 only) or pay a lot extra for a region 1 import of series 2-4, or pay to stream- the biggest scam where you pay dvd boxset price for zero permanent product.
All the characters are interesting and the gore is plentiful. Waiting patiently for the release of season 2.