What would happen if someone came back from the dead and tried to continue existing in the world as they had before – and how would their loved ones react?
The eight-episode subtitled French series “The Returned,” making its U.S. debut on Halloween on Sundance Channel, poses those questions and more. But, while it portrays answers to those two queries, it leaves a lot left unexplained as the story unwinds throughout.
The series, created by Fabrice Gobert and based on the movie “Les Revenants” by Robin Campillo, is well-acted, creepily toned and beautifully shot, so it does draw the viewer in.
The characters are also interesting, especially Camille (Yara Pilartz), a girl who died in a bus accident; and Simon (Pierre Perrier), whose death stranded his fiancee Adèle (Clotilde Hesme) at the altar.
And then there’s Victor (Swann Nambotin), a seemingly lost and enormously eerie boy who is taken in by Julie (Celine Sallette) – who has quite a past herself and who continues to care for Victor even though macabre incidents happen around him.
The reactions of those involved with Camille and Simon are gripping, and the first episode centering on Camille is particularly absorbing.
There is much potential in this series. If you can watch without needing to know what’s going on behind every detail and you’re in the mood for a different take on the zombie genre, give “The Returned” a try.
Hopefully, Season Two of the French series will offer some answers to the mysteries in the first season.
Also of note, A&E is developing its own version of “The Returned,” so it’ll be interesting to see what its take will be.
“The Returned” premieres at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, on Sundance Channel.
– Melissa Hayer
Follow me on Twitter: @MelissaHayer