Oren Peli made his name making a horror film for three dollars that was actually good and Steven Spielberg made his by making big budget fun movies that were actually good. So we’ve got the anti-Saw and the anti-Bay teaming up here to make a television series, “The River.” Of course, Spielberg being executive producer is a label that’s been rather diluted at this point, what since his name started being used on local furniture commercials.
The trailer for “The River” has been out in the wild since May, but we seem to have missed it the first time around and ABC has begun advertising it for its midseason replacement slot, so it felt topical. The premise is science fiction horrory: an explorer disappears in the Amazon, and after six months his locator beacon turns back on. An expedition (composed partially of family) sets out and scary hijinks ensue. It’s like Heart of Darkness in that there’s a river and horror. OK, it’s not like Heart of Darkness.
Here’s the official blurb:
Famed explorer Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) went looking for magic deep in the uncharted Amazon and never returned. The shocking truth about his disappearance is out there, somewhere, just waiting to be discovered. To the millions of kids who grew up watching his nature show, Dr. Cole was a hero. To his own son, Lincoln (Joe Anderson), he was more of an enigma. Now, six months after he vanished, Lincoln is finally ready to bury the past when Dr. Cole’s emergency beacon suddenly goes off. At the urging of his mother, Tess (Leslie Hope), Lincoln reluctantly joins her on a search for his father. To fund the rescue, they agree to let Dr. Cole’s cagey ex-producer, Clark (Paul Blackthorne), film the mission documentary-style. The mixed crew of old friends and new acquaintances includes the sexy and resourceful Lena (Eloise Mumford), loyal mechanic Emilio (Daniel Zacapa) and lethal bodyguard Captain Kurt Brynildson (Thomas Kretschmann).
“The River” premiers in February on ABC, trailer below. And apologies for the copy with ads in front of it. ABC has determined to disable embedding on any copies on YouTube because otherwise people might be tempted to tell other people about their show, and they can’t be having that:
Hey, at least they’re getting to use all the sets from “Off the Map,” so that should keep costs down.