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Spoilers: Netflix's 'Devil In Ohio' Is Laughably Bad

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 8, 2022 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 8, 2022 |


Devil in Ohio is yet another Netflix series that fits into the category of thriller that I wrote about in my review for Michelle Monaghan’s Echoes: A series full of flat, uninteresting characters that are driven purely by plot and mid-tier actors who provide the sheen of prestige. See also: Pieces of Her, Anatomy of a Scandal, The Weekend Away, several of the Harlen Coben series).

All of the other examples are miles ahead of Devil in Ohio. I wish I knew how good I had it while watching Echoes or Pieces of Her, which were downright Emmy-worthy comparatively speaking. At least the other examples had the Netflix pull: The ability to end each episode on a cliffhanger and lure viewers into the next episode. Not even that exists here. In critical parlance, Devil in Ohio sucks. Hard.

I have a couple of friends who use my Netflix account and when I dialed up Devil in Ohio, I noticed that someone had already watched the first episode. They quit around the 20-minute mark, which is exactly around the time I would have turned it off if not for a review obligation. It’s abundantly clear by then that Devil in Ohio is not salvageable. The acting is bad — what are you doing, Emily Deschanel? — and the writing is worse. The direction is shoddy, and the tone is all over the place. It’s a horror movie about a cult shot in the tone of a brightly lit family drama like 7th Heaven. It’s a mess, a hokey, unpleasantly boring idiotic series without a single redeeming quality. There are no stand-out episodes, no actors who transcend the material, no moment that is even modestly compelling. It’s all bad. Every single second of it.

Here’s the brief recap (with spoilers): A teenager named Mae (Madeleine Arthur) is found running away from a dangerous situation by a driver on a rural road. She has a pentagram carved into her back. Suzanne (Emily Deschanel), who provides therapy to foster kids, takes her into her own home when she cannot immediately find a placement for her. Mae develops a creepy obsession not only with Suzanne but one of her daughters, Jules (Xaria Dotson). Her presence creates friction in the marriage between Suzanne and Peter (Sam Jaeger), a builder in financial trouble after a big sale fell through. Everyone in the family turns against Mae except for Suzanne, whose troubled past makes her empathetic to this creepy girl who makes dolls out of corn stalks.

Meanwhile, there’s an investigation led by Detective Lopez (Gerardo Celasco) into the people responsible for carving the pentagram into Mae’s back. It turns out that it’s a cult run by Mae’s father. He was going to sacrifice Mae to keep the chain intact, whatever that means, and the whole town whence Mae came — police included — are in on it.

In the end, Suzanne finds a permanent placement for Mae, but Mae doesn’t want to leave. She devises a plan. During the Harvest Dance at the local high school — where Mae wins Harvest Queen — she swaps out the red roses for white carnations, which she claims are triggering. She fakes her abduction by the cult, but in reality, she willingly runs back to the cult to be sacrificed by her own father under the assumption that Suzanne will save her from that fate. Suzanne does exactly that — and Mae’s mother sacrifices herself in her stead — and creepy-ass Mae continues living with Suzanne, even though at this point, Suzanne is separated from her husband.

The end.

Do not watch.