I’m all for a good vampire story. But this isn’t a particularly good vampire story.
Or, at least not yet, it isn’t. Don’t get me wrong — the premiere of “The Passage” wasn’t the worst hour of television I’ve ever seen. I’d rate it a 5 out of 10 for being somewhat average. It has two good leads in Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Saniyya Sidney. Gosselaar is no Laurence Olivier, but he’s good enough, and he looks and fits the part. He seems like an excellent physical actor in the premiere’s brief action sequences, which weren’t altogether bad. Sidney is downright terrific — and she’s an adorable kid too.
The show also has a great plot setup going for it, which I won’t spoil here. It’s based on a trilogy of dystopian horror novels by Justin Cronin, which actually sound like some quite interesting books. There are even a couple of sly references to well known horror films like “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992) and “28 Days Later” (2002).
Regrettably, however, “The Passage” suffers a lot from rushed and clumsy storytelling. The script is a poor one, with a lot of awkward exposition and forced emotion. (It shares a weakness with this year’s vastly superior “Bird Box,” in that it tries to fit too much of its source material into too little screen time.) It falls well short of being scary, too, which is probably what will alienate modern horror fans, unless it improves. (This is a primetime network TV show, and isn’t any more frightening than the average episode of “Star Trek.”)
Weird world — Gosselar is none other than the Zack from “Saved By the Bell” (1989-1993). And am I the only one that thinks he is the spitting image of Chris Pratt in a lot of shots. I almost thought it was Pratt from the ads.