The Grimoire Chapters:Rem
The third episode of the third season of the horror web series 'The Grimoire Chapters' continues the story relating to an unorthodox sleep experiment that takes place in 1968, whose consequences span all the way to 1988, as a series of gruesome murders occur. ‘Heavenly Peace’, as its name might hint, takes place on Christmas Day, thus tapping into the limitless potential for sharp contrasts between a peaceful context and a grim reality.
As with the other two episodes of the series, Michael Davis puts forward his own brand of horror, which, despite borrowing from a number of different styles, feels unique and, most importantly, fresh.
Most remarkably, it steers away from the jump scare technique and instead veers more in the direction of uneasy dialogues and monologues – the latter gradually exhibiting a descent into desperation and madness.
Taken from a plot perspective, not much happens during the half an hour that it takes for the credits to roll, but this is by no means a problem within the context. The project makes good use of this time to build atmosphere and to slowly but steadily creep under the skin of the audience. It does not need sudden noises or industrial quantities of gore in order to shock and surprise, but rather relies on atmospheric music, sharp sound mixing and a very inspired editing style.
Another aspect of the episode which we thoroughly enjoyed was the acting performance of the main actors. They all do a very professional job and their motivations and range of displayed emotions are more than impressive. Within its context of a conversation-heavy, slow-paced horror trope, acting is a make-or-break matter, and 'The Grimoire Chapters' efficiently navigates this thin line. On the downside, some pacing problems can be identified, and the coherence of the plot suffers from this. The decision to begin and end with a short 1988 arc is interesting but does not add much in terms of substance, other than rather artificially creating suspense for the next episode. The use of audio, as mentioned before, is very effective in creating a general atmosphere of creepiness, but the repeated use of a certain song for this purpose made us wince slightly. ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’ has been used so widely in horror projects in order to create a tense and unsettling atmosphere, that it has become cliché beyond measure.
As the very 'American Horror Story'-inspired opening credits rolled, we guessed that we would be in for a different type of horror that evades from the mainstream tropes, and we were not wrong. Deeply anchored in personal drama rather than dependent on monster fights and bloodbaths, 'Heavenly Peace is a smart episode that showcases both technical proficiency and artistic good taste. A general lack of coherence and slightly too elongated dialogues diminish some of its substance, but Episode 3 remains a very good watch in its own right.