In search of a good television I came across the Netflix Original Series The Chalet. A horror mystery spanning 6 hour long episodes about a group of friends traveling back to a remote Chalet in the mountains and uncovering that there might be something dark at play seemed intriguing enough or a possible dumpster fire way either way I’m game.  There was only one problem, The Chalet is a French series…Je ne comprends pas le français. Still I watched it with English subtitles and today I will be your guide into navigating The Chalet to ensure you have the most enjoyable stay on your Netflix.

Character Guide

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I’m glad after conferring with the Netflix reviews that I can safely say I was not the only one having trouble keeping track of the utter clusterfuck of characters. Unfortunately, unlike my image the cast of characters aren’t necessarily the most colorful bunch of personalities. Despite the entire first episode being almost nothing but character introductions it still hard to keep track of who’s who with seamless flashbacks and characters who all speak with the same serious lifetime movie tone of voice. I wouldn’t go as far to say that the writing is bad, but it is noted that it comes across as one writer trying to be dramatic than 20 unique individuals with distinct point of views. Usually I would consider this just a stylistic choice but when it comes to a show that relies heavily on you knowing a large group of characters and the child’s dialogue is just as mature as the adult ones you can see how this can be a problem.

I think to encourage you to watch the series yourself but relieve the stress of having to sort things out for yourself her is a brief *spoiler free* run down of some of the characters.

The film opens up with Sebastein (who’s a stern bald guy and not a sing-songy Jamaican crab….unfortunately) who is in some sort of containment being questioned by some psychiatrist who is marking her notes with a blue marker (this hurts me, it makes sense that a marker is going to show up better than pen as it has a thicker stroke but no. you don’t do that). Sebastein is present in both timelines when they travel back he’s that guy in the group that no one really likes but apparently he’s less of prick then he used to be but yeah not really. He’s in a relationship with Maud and is the son to the Genesta family. It’s sort a reunion of the families who knew each other back when the all lived up in the mountains so he’s reuniting with Alice and Manu who we also see in the flashbacks. The flashbacks are centered around the Rodier family, who is not part of the reunion timeline as they disappeared. There’s Jean-Louis who’s the father who’s pretty much Jack Torrance from The Shining in that he’s an author with severe writer’s block, and all work and no play makes Jean and unhappy boy… which that mentality leads to them having an affair despite the fact that he has a wife and two children. His daughter Amelie is just a little girl and a lot of the flashback instead focuses on Julien who is bullied by Sebestein mostly because of his romantic connection to Alice.

Alice is now during the reunion timeline with Fabio and Manu is in a relationship with Adele who looks like a mix between Emma Watson and Charlie Heaton… to me at least. That’s really the connection between the two timelines and a good baseline to head you into the series. I’m not saying that if I haven’t mentioned a character that they are unimportant but that’s enough to get you understanding where you’re at in both timelines. While this might not seem hard to follow, trust me there is still a double digit amount of characters in this show that I’m going to leave it to you to watch for knowing the complete story.

Plot Guide

The Chalet Netflix series

I’m sure when staying at our resort chalet you’d like some activities to past the time, our locals seem to really enjoy hunting out here. So, our group of friends travel to this Chalet but upon arriving the bridge collapses stranding them in the mountains for… who knows how long. The bridge collapses in the most over the top fashion which looks straight ripped from a Syfy original and I want to get across that nothing in this series is this cartoonish, so don’t let that turn you off. Once staying at the Chalet there appears to be a malicious force picking off our group one by one for reasons unknown. That’s all there really is to know going into it, you know nothing at the beginning and then through the first couple episodes you know very little but by the end you do seem to understand the complete story.

The series is odd in that I want to say that the characters are not the expected dumb people who stay in a cabin typical of the genre because they pick up that something is amiss right away and seem to be on high alert. At the same time, they’re complete morons who still wonder of alone, investigate without any sort of weapons, get locked into place, etc.. The plot is slow, which I can appreciate a dialogue heavy show but it’s a trek to get to. To be honest this show might not be worth your time hopefully you can discern that for yourself, but I’ll warn you that not a lot happens from episode to episode. Through the six-episode length I would say that the first episodes feel like 15 minutes of stuff happening in and hour worth of time, but then the last episode is amazing television. Is it worth it to get to the finale… I don’t know.

I think this story would have worked better if it was instead a video game to the vein of Heavy Rain or Until Dawn. I think the setting seems like untapped potential, I think the setting is gorgeous in the daytime and eerie during the night that I think it would be used better if giving the agency of exploration. I think the undeveloped characters just seems like a video game in which a personal connection will grow deeper with the main characters as you place yourself into them and their decisions while the ensemble cast is as deep or shallow as you chose to interact with them. Any action that takes place can easily be replicated by simplistic story-based gameplay, and the flashback timeline can be integrated as cut scenes. I think that the main issue comes with investment into the characters, into this setting, and into what’s happening which certainly could have be mended by having us the viewer actively participating along with it.

Production Guide

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The musical soundtrack is effective while very thin, I think there’s only two songs (or one song spliced into two distinctive parts) that I really used to the effect of something happened or something is going to happen. The cinematography is pretty standard, everything feels natural and not very stylized. The show is French and it has that European sensibility of sexuality being more accepted on screen than violence so there is nudity while not much violent imagery such as much blood from gunshot wounds. I don’t think that there’s an element of production that is lacking (besides that stupid bridge) or exceptionally stellar but all things considered it’s fine for what it tries to accomplish. The best production element is the opening and closing. The theme song is a creepy French song that sounds like a music box over a miniature of the mountain village with what appears to be like fake blood running through the river. While symbolism is apparent it doesn’t provide a deeper context to the show but it is very creepy. The closing is also interesting in that as the credits go, they splice in short snip-bits of the next episode but while at least on American television you’re use to these being cliffhanger dialogue that you easily see how they’re manipulating you to subvert your expectations, this show has almost completely random bits at the end credits. It’s interesting that the show has you become morbidly curious because of the lack of context it gives you that presents a cliffhanger greater than what’s actually being shown.

Guide to Spoilers

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THIS IS A SHORT DISCUSSION OF THE SPOILERS SO PLEASE SKIP TO THE NEXT SECTION [Please Come Again Soon] IF YOU CARE NOT TO BE SPOILED! So with all the confusion of figuring out the characters I was trying to connect the characters to their counterparts in both narratives so I thought Adele was suppose to be Amelie for about all of episode three. I also struggled with Julien not being part of the group since he was the main character of the past timeline I thought he was Sebestein at one point then I thought he was Fabio which was a nice bait in switch moment. I thought it was hilarious when they revealed Julien was whatever his name was because dummy me completely forgot that he was even in the show I was like oh, there he is and then twenty minutes later it was like damn that’s right he died earlier haha. I enjoyed the ending going back to the video game comparison I felt like we we’re getting the good ending, I was like I’m want these characters to live and if that characters takes the fall for it I’m okay with that it’s interesting and everyone gets to go home satisfied. It probably would have been interesting if we didn’t end up with this everybody wins scenario if the protagonist we actually like and the antagonist we’re empathetic towards actually do have to confront and one has to be defeated. I don’t know also I found it strange that you’re lead to believe that the murder is over the affair but its because the Rodier family won the lottery and I don’t know if that was set up at all. Did we see him buy a scratcher and I just forgot, or what clues did we get to build up to that i’m not going to re-watch it to figure out but yeah I was content but thought it was a weird plot point to show up out of nowhere. I thought it would have been interesting if Alice had been a super secret third accomplice, I thought the kills were very tame and didn’t really elicit any emotional response and overall you don’t care about any of the characters until the final episode and then they don’t square off which I didn’t want anyone to die at that point but sometimes you do have to Marley & Me the story to have a dramatic end result.

 

Please Come Again Soon

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Now that you’ve read the brochure, I hope that you have found your travel destination to get you to experience a refreshing new show, or maybe convinced you to stay somewhere else. I really enjoyed the ending and thought it was an interesting short mini-series with a well-done mystery. I understand that it was indeed very slow paced and the language barrier is going to keep people away…until they make an awful dub for it. Proceed with caution, approach it with tempered expectations but don’t be afraid to check it out because it’s not bad.

Qu’as-tu pensé? Êtes-vous prêt à regarder le chalet. Ou l’avez-vous déjà vu? N’hésitez pas à me le faire savoir avec un commentaire ci-dessous. Et comme toujours, je te verrai au cinema.

 


{Also to successfully do the brochure idea, only one of the images used is from the show, the rest are images from the Free Photo Library offered on WordPress of pictures from Pexels. can you tell the difference?}

8 thoughts on “Travel Guide to the Netflix Original Series ‘The Chalet’

  1. I was very confused about who’s who, so thank you, and I love the opening song: I’m mesmerized by the French girl’s sweet little voice. The scenery is beautiful, so pristine and timeless. Because it’s not American, I can’t place it in a specific era until the characters reveal things like birth dates etc – which keeps my mind from creating preconceived notions. I”m really enjoying it (only on episode 2, but feels like 5 or 6).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, you are too kind! I always wanted to know what the song’s lyric were and your comment made me find the answer on the show’s Facebook page. Certainly fitting to tone and the show, I never even realize that the final line changes midway through the series, I found that to be a neat little detail.

      Thanks for making my day with such a warm comment, hopefully A bientôt! to you too

      Liked by 1 person

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