SEASON REVIEW: The Returned (Les Revenants) – Season 1
Staring: Alix Poisson, Ana Giradot, Celine Sallette & Frederic Pierrot
In a small mountain community, two local people – teenager Camille, and Simon – who both died years earlier, suddenly re-appear at their homes. They have not aged, and they are completely unaware of their own deaths.
Camille’s sister Léna has continued to grow up without her sibling beside her, and Simon’s wife Adèle is just about to get remarried, to Thomas. Meanwhile, lonely nurse Julie receives a visit from a very strange little boy.
Seven years ago, the town was struck by a series of bloody murders. Now it seems the killings have started up again. In French with English subtitles.
I saw this advertised a few weeks back on Channel 4 and thought I’d investigate, and the more and more I look into it, the more intrigued I am. The Returned is actually a French TV show to aired in the UK in June that is based on a nine year old French film – Les Revenants.
This low key film, by director Robin Campillo portrays a realistically mass resurrection, where the recent dead rise – no not as Romeroite zombies, but as relatively normal humans, all wanting their normal lives back. The local government step in to re-house and locate the recently risen and help families with the shock of their dead relatives rising.
As the films go on, it becomes apparent that The Returned begin to have trouble sleeping, and so wonder around at night, are distant and gathering in secretive meetings.
Unlike many horrors there is no Scientific or religious explanation for the rising dead, it is just an odd occurrence and the film focuses on relationships between the recently un-deceased and the living. Other than that there is no major storyline, just a cool, calm, collected “zombie” film.
But in true Zombie style, it doesn’t stop there. Les Revenants rose again in 2012 with and 8 part TV series. Set in a smaller scale mountain village, the rising of the dead doesn’t actually grace our screens as it does in the film version, instead smaller phenomena like a little girl rising after being dead for four years and going home to her family.
In a change to the original set up of the film, along with the dead retuning, there is also a murderer back in the village.
For those that have seen the film, the TV show has been described as a violent variation. It is also Canal Plus’ “most watched ever” show, meaning we can probably look forward to a second season.
Apparently this is Chanel 4’s first foreign language drama in twenty years, and following traditional import suit, an English remake is in the hands of Paul Abbot (creator of Shameless) is on the cards.
Catch The Returned on Channel 4, Sunday 9th June 9pm.