Betaal by Eric S Brown

Netflix is home to some amazing foreign horror series these days and Betaal is one of their newest. It’s an Indian zombie horror tale with some wild and cool twists that was met with some harsh treatment from critics. It does have some similarites to the American made, 1986 film, The Supernaturals which starred Star Trek actors Nichelle Nichols and Levar Burton, but hardcore horror fans likely won’t care about that. The plot of both movies revolves around evil soldiers returning from the dead but in Betaal, the threat becomes a global one by the end of its first season.

Plot summary: A group of soldiers are sent in to clear out insurgents in a remote region where a new highway is being built. Their commanding officer is corrupt, and on the payroll of Surya Corp. She orders them to fire on the locals who are trying to stop them from opening the sealed cave atop the mountain which is home to the shrine of the evil demon god Betaal. An explosion is set off behind the soldiers’ firing line during their standoff with the locals, tricking them into opening fire. It is set off by the officer of the Surya Corp. who is in charge of overseeing the construction of the new road who wants the locals out of the way at any cost. Afterwards, the cave on the mountain is opened, and Betaal’s evil begins to spread in the form of long dead, reanimated British soldiers led by Lieutenant Colonel John Lynedoch- a man who lost his soul to the demon long ago. His undead army engages the ) Counter Insurgency Police Department troops, driving them into a fast retreat. The soldiers and remaining locals struggle to hold out against the undead while awaiting reinforcements. By the end of Betaal’s first season, the dark god’s power has spread beyond the mountain and its surrounding village to reach beyond the borders of India.

One thing that old school horror fans will greatly enjoy is Betaal’s zombies as they look more like vampires, from a low budget 80s film. They are fast, strong, and utterly creepy, with monstrous features and supernaturally glowing eyes. Also like vampires, they can crawl, upside down across    ceilings with ease, dropping onto their prey, and do so during more than one scene in the series.

While Betaal is certainly not overly original in its plot, the series is fast paced, well directed, and features a cool score that adds greatly to its dark mood. The series is well worth checking out if you’re a fan of old school, monster horror.

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