Ryan Murphy slaps a show with his highly-stylised paintbrush and Netflix get themselves all in a flutter, ready to trend on twitter and have millennials swooning. And it seems it doesn’t matter how many they give us (Glee, American Horror Story, Hollywood, The People v OJ Simpson…), we’re always ready for more of his camp and colourful creations.
This time, he’s taken one of the most terrifying villains in film history and given her a backstory. Nurse Ratched is back, as coiffed and terrifying as ever, ready to inflict her straight-faced fury. However, for fans of the original 1975 film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the similarities end there. Despite Sarah Paulson’s taut cheeks and soulless stares, she struggles to match Louise Fletcher, who won an Oscar for playing the original Ratched. And the storyline doesn’t have the same edge either. It’s all gone a bit slapstick horror – think dramatic wind instruments playing as bad guys lick their lips, and blood splatters the walls. It’s a fun house of horrors, rather than a heart stopping scare-fest.
Lucy Mangan in The Guardian, was pretty accurate in calling Ratched “quality trash” and “the most excellent fun.” And despite appearing to be all style no substance, she does say the series “engages with questions about where evil comes from.” But does it answer these questions, or just make them look pretty? Well, The New Yorker’s Rachel Syme might be leaning towards the latter. She comments that the “central weakness” to Ratched, is that “there is nothing bubbling underneath the surface.” And it seems Anita Singh of The Telegraph agrees. She says: “the comic-book violence is as almost as lurid as the set design,” creating “a drama out of control.”
First shown September 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.