Wreck was marketed as a comedy slasher series. Scream on a cruise ship. The ingredients are certainly there. The first episode introduces a killer in a duck costume, a saintly protagonist, hateful authority figures and an attractive ensemble of potential victims. Expectations can trap us. As the series continued, I grew impatient. Where were the jokes? Where was the action? Why did we go entire episodes without seeing the killer? It wasn’t till later that I realized Wreck was heading in a different direction.
Luxury cruise ships are exploitative and terrible and just seemed like the perfect location for a horror story.Ryan J. Brown, Series Creator
Jamie Walsh (Oscar Kennedy) joins the crew of a luxury liner to investigate his sister’s disappearance. He finds himself caught between warring factions. Abuse, drugs and sexual harassment run rampant. Everyone is too overworked to notice the killer in their midst. The series, like White Lotus and Triangle of Sadness before it, reveals how hellish the travel industry can be.
Jamie finds a friend in Vivian Lim (MVP Thaddea Graham). An outcast with a chip on her shoulder. Their queerness sets them apart from their colleagues. She understands Jamie can’t do this alone. He lacks the wits of a sleuth and the strength of an action hero. They need allies. They need to inspire class solidarity.
As Jamie interrogates the ship’s various sects he gathers a team of misfits. These include gentle giant Cormac (Peter Claffey) and the mercurial Olly (Anthony Rickman). The middle chapters resemble a Bioware game as the party tackles side quests. These tangents got on my nerves. I nearly quit the series midway.
Once the show remembers the killer the pacing ramps up. The murders are quick, efficient, and sad. (Except the ones Hulu has shoved commercial breaks in the middle of.) We’re denied the catharsis of an elaborate set piece or a satisfying comeuppance. The show runners seem to have lacked the budget to indulge in genre staples.
I think queer characters like Jamie make for really interesting protagonists because they’ve experienced some sort of trauma in their past that’s equipped them to be survivors.Ryan J. Brown, Series Creator
Wreck would be easier to recommend if it were a movie. The series requires a sizable time commitment to get to the thrills. Still, fans of queer horror, or class parables, should check it out on the BBC iplayer or Hulu soon. They’ve announced a second series which will undoubtably spoil the twist of the first.
You can find more of my reviews on The Avocado, Letterboxd and Serializd. My podcast, Rainbow Colored Glasses, can be found here.