If you’re going to make a web series, centering it around a group of friends who decide to make a web series is as good a place to start as any. L.A. Macabre, the name of the real series and the fake one, is about a trio of either up-and-coming or down-and-going documentarians who turn their attention to the dark side of Hollywood. However, their initial intention quickly narrows when they run into Callie (Corsica Wilson), a former member of The New Family.
The New Family is a copycat cult of Charles Manson’s very un-Brady bunch of blood relatives—the blood they share being someone else’s, of course. As the crew gets deeper into Callie’s story, Colin (Aidan Bristow), the director, takes a heart-shaped arrow through his artistic integrity, and the two begin a relationship. On the bright side, this doesn’t muck up the project half as much as the multiple kidnappings that occur, seemingly at the hand of The New Family. All of this is filmed in that style someone decided to call “found footage.”
By the second season, the found footage stuff is dropped, and the show becomes a crime thriller with intrigue, mystery, and deceit. It’s a good direction for the show to go, as the first season relies too much on horror schtick. Callie and Colin’s ominous relationship is a much richer source for drama, considering her history of being brainwashed and Colin’s sudden infatuation with her. As I’ve only watched the first three episodes of the second season, I don’t know where this leads, but some part of me would like to know—not a big part, but it’s there.
“…a trio of either up-and-coming or down-and-going documentarians who turn their attention to the dark side of Hollywood.”
In addition to the original cast, which includes Jamie (Ryan Bartley) and Ryan (Ryan Hellquist), some welcome faces are introduced in the new season. Most notably, there’s Ryan and Jamie’s uncle, Randy (Joel Bryant), an ex-cop who’s hardly skittish about reawakening old habits. His older, bull doggish presence gives the cast a much-needed shakeup and helps guide the story from teen horror to crime drama. Everyone in the cast is much better in the new season, partly due to the format change. There’s something about found footage that causes actors to be overly natural; once the canonical cameras are gone, the agreed-upon lie of cinema is reinstated, and everything returns to normal.
Despite the improved second season, the show still doesn’t manage to excel at anything. The dialogue won’t have you slapping your forehead in disbelief, but it’s also not memorable, profound, or stylish. There is more characterization going on—a greater sense that these people are making decisions rather than being moved around like pieces—but it’s yet to be seen if any of it goes anywhere.
With the excess of content on the internet, L.A. Macabre is bold enough to claim your attention. It’s a show that gets progressively better, and—having only watched the first three episodes of season two—I have no reason to believe that changes. If you want to be the “have you seen” guy at work and take pride in your obscure recommendations, L.A. Macabre could serve you well.
"…once the canonical cameras are gone, the agreed upon lie of cinema is reinstated and everything returns to normal."