Macabre…ish Horror Review: Panic
Panic, 2021 Season 1
In Carp, Tx the annual Panic games begin after high school graduation and lasts through the Summer. Anywhere between 23 to 40 new graduates play because it is their chance to when a big prize, $50,000, and escape Carp.
Everyone doesn’t always survive and this year, the rules change and the new grads have to make hard choices about the risks they are willing to take. The games aren’t easy, they include trials like being buried alive and bee swarm attack.
The game begins with a signal and the graduates spend the time before, partying, spending time with family, just living…before they are summoned. But now the police now know of the existence of the game and it is more secretive than ever before.
Suddenly, they get the signal and all prospective players, convene on the opening ceremony. The police are also on the look out but they are sent on a wild goose chase.
What happens in the challenge, stays in the challenge or you lose game privileges. And the secret is forever. Even the spectators are sworn to secrecy.
Everyone gets a number.
Everyone’s phone is tagged.
The 3 judges are secret but watching.
Extra points are given for level of difficulty and danger, sometimes immunity from future challenges.
And this is a spectator sport.
Meanwhile, one grad, Heather (Olivia Scott Welch), who did not intend to play the game, changed her mind at the last second, in an act of desperation, when she realizes her mother spent her life savings. She’s worked and saved for years to be able to pay for college and now she barely has anything left.
She shows up and competes in the challenge. This isn’t a closed competition, the players do the challenge, then go home and live their lives and wait for the signal for the next challenge.
All the while, the cops are trying to find out who’s involved in the game. Who organizes it. Where it’s played and how to stop it before more kids die. And about them, there is never a resolution, they are just dead and it is just considered accidental. Case closed.
The game has left it’s mark on the town, the people, even those who did not compete, still live with the secret of Panic and the trauma.
This was filmed outside of Austin, Tx, the pilot in LA and it is directed by Leigh Janiak. This is a good deadly games series, it’s a shame it ended after one season. The stories and flashbacks are good. The effects and pacing is good too! The feel is like a drama though, more Walking Dead and less Escape Room. There are some jump scares, some blood and danger. Very good cast.
Some of the cast: Ray Nicholson. Mike Faist, Camron Jones, Bonnie Bedelia, Nancy McKeon, Jessica Sula, Cosme Flores, Martin Bats Bradford
In the cast is the guest of my upcoming podcast episode on Macabre…ish Cults, Classics & Horrors!