Black Mirror review: Alex Lawther is fantastic in Shut Up and Dance

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Of Black Mirror’s first three episodes in this new season, Shut Up and Dance is the most impactful; it’s chilling and discomforting in a way quite unlike its predecessors. No doubt this is a story that’s going to stay with anyone who watches it for a long, long time – just like the best of Black Mirror, really.

One of those rare episodes of television that you love so much, and find so impactful – but know that you’ll literally never, ever watch it again. It’s just too much. This one left me reeling for hours. It’s an extremely powerful piece of drama.

It also started my ongoing, decidedly one-sided, friendship with Alex Lawther, which culminated in this terribly exciting interview.

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Black Mirror review: Playtest is a horror story for the internet age

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The script has plenty of quite intelligent moments and unexpected reversals. Arguably the most effective of these was the handling of Cooper’s father’s Alzheimer’s – having set the audience up to expect an apparition of the father, Charlie Brooker expertly subverts this by presenting a far subtler rendition of Cooper’s fears about his own mental state. It’s possibly one of the most intelligent scares of the episode, and by that token the most meaningful; certainly, it stands head and shoulders above the CGI jump scares that proliferate the rest of the episode.

Yet despite this, there’s something about Playtest that just feels… empty.

My review of Black Mirror Season 3′s second episode, Playtest. It’s an attempt at a more overt horror story than they normally go for, but sadly, it’s not one that connected with me.

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Black Mirror review: Nosedive is an extremely strong start to Season 3

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There’s something very easy to relate to about this story, and how it portrays the complicated social conventions of this world; as with all the best Black Mirror episodes, the juxtaposition of the mundane and the extreme engenders both horror and familiarity, making the story resonate on an even deeper level.

Nosedive is an astonishingly well-written character piece, detailing the breakdown of main character Lacie. Bryce Dallas Howard gives an impressive performance throughout, portraying the breakdown of a carefully cultivated and manufactured personality in a nuanced, and at times quite poignant, way.

I reviewed the first three episodes of Black Mirror’s third season for CultBox – here’s my thoughts on series opener, Nosedive.

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