Netflix’s Cult Thriller Series ‘Devil in Ohio’ Lacks a Soul

Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer

Plot: A psychiatrist takes in a young patient who escaped from a cult, putting her family and life in danger.

Review: Starring Emily Deschanel (Bones) in the lead role as a psychiatrist who has devoted her entire life to saving kids in trouble, The Devil in Ohio has a solid premise and the kind of story a horror fan such as myself would be instantly drawn to. This limited series built around a cult that worships the big red guy ups the ante by making them not only mysterious but also powerful and well-connected (not something you see in a lot of cult-based films). The tone and pacing isn’t bad, with a sense of unease flowing through all eight episodes. And I did enjoy the way they kept the “evil” elements ambiguous so you’re not sure if things are ever supernatural or just the mad ravings of an eccentric cult leader and his followers. Yet, as much as I wanted to enjoy this series, there just wasn’t enough there to make it truly engaging.

Now tell me the truth. Did you eat my yogurt in the fridge?

I think the biggest drawback was the lack of any real horror elements; the trailer hinted to a much more supernatural type of series but what we got here was more akin to Martha Marcy May Marlene (a superbly dark thriller with similar themes starring Elizabeth Olsen). Now there’s nothing wrong with this in and of itself and the absolutely haunting (and equally chilling) performance by Madeleine Arthur (The Magicians) as Mae, the young woman who escapes the cult, could’ve made The Devil in Ohio equally as good as the previously named film. But unfortunately this series doesn’t choose what it wants to be (supernatural or psychological) until the very last episode, and with the uneven tone throughout and the lack of any real stakes taking a sideline to the (forced and unnecessary) family drama, the series feels like the kind of cult-based thriller you would find on Lifetime.

As a limited series I’m not sure if we will get a second season to smooth out the kinks of The Devil in Ohio. I’m sure the answer will depend on how many viewers were drawn into it. But as it stands, unless they can decide whether they want this to be a drama with dark psychological elements or a supernatural thriller, this series isn’t something I would be interested in revisiting any time soon.

Score: 5.5 out of 10

2755F829-2EEC-4A68-B6F7-F963F48C9D92 Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.

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