The premise of Riverdale is simple: take dated, cutesy Archie comics characters (except Sonic the Hedgehog), and throw them into a dark, gritty, sexy murder mystery, filled with statutory jailbait affairs, grizzly murders, and a general air of bleak grumpiness.
So far so good, right? The first season of this new comic certainly won over a solid, passionate fanbase, and based on the first episode of the second season, the show is about to double down on this general concept, and give us more icky, murky teenage darkness.
The central focus of this episode is a creepy killer wearing a black ski-mask, who’s happy carving people up, but who, for some reason, seems unwilling to lay a finger on Archie.
Mask-wearing murderers are in fashion at the moment in a big way, cropping up in pretty much every horror movie that’s hitting theaters. Sure, masks have always been a major part of horror, but there seems to really be something in the air at the moment that’s making people scared on anonymous people hiding their humanity behind a crummy disguise.
For whatever reason, the introduction of slasher elements to the new world of Riverdale takes things a lot further towards full on horror as opposed to merely bleak crime drama. It’s a logical transformation for the show, especially considering that the initial appeal of watching beloved children’s characters bump uglies in the dark has lost some of its shock factor in the past year.
Heck, this isn’t even the first time that Archie comics characters have been jazzed up by throwing in more mature horror themes. Afterlife with Archie is a series of comics about the inhabitants of Riverdale facing a zombie horde, while Archie Meets The Punisher, although not particularly scary, is a crossover that’s built around poking fun at the absurdity of the two titular characters working together to catch a criminal.
One thing’s certain: with audiences increasingly becoming desensitized to the hilarious idea of Archie comics getting the full grimdark reboot treatment, the show is going to need to amp up the grittiness in order to keep things interesting.
Adding a slasher is probably only the beginning. Just wait until Sabrina the Teenage Witch shows up to start boiling people alive and eating their bones!