Darkness descends in ‘Dead Places’ as its characters are haunted by personal and real life demons – IOL


As a horror buff, I’m always drawn to hairraising offerings.

Sometimes, I’m impressed. The offerings in the genre can be hit and miss, though.

If you’ve enjoyed “Haunted” on Netflix or Travel Channel’s “The Kindred Spirit”, “Portals to Hell” or “Ghost Brothers”, you will enjoy the “Dead Places”, a new local paranormal series on Netflix.

To a large extent, the storylines, which include hauntings involving witches, a sangoma, a mythical creature, a demon, ghosts and even a possessed tree, are engaging.

And there’s plenty of terrifying moments to appease fans.

I’m also impressed by the sheer star power in the series, more so with the guest appearances of S’dumo Mtshali, Khabonina Quebeka, Altovise Lawrence, Mampho Brescia, Mary-Anne Barlow, Tumisho Masha, Ilse Klink, Rajesh Gopie and Pallance Dladla.

Every episode had a different haunting, which switches things up.

First, though, let’s look at the leads.

A scene from Dead Places. Picture: Netflix.

Shamilla Miller is an undeniable drawcard in her role as Kelly. She’s a natural in front of the camera and I suspect will have a promising future in the industry.

The “Blood & Water” actress shares wonderful screen chemistry with her co-stars Anthony Oseyemi (Will), who is the lead, and Rea Rangaka (Joe).

The series follows Will, a successful novelist who has used his supernatural encounters as inspiration for his stories.

His return to South Africa isn’t an easy one as he is haunted by the death of his sister two decades earlier.

Meanwhile, his agent is determined to get a new best-seller out of him and, in helping those creative juices flow, he partners him with Kelly, a social media influencer.

Their paths first cross when she seeks out his help in ridding herself of a ghostly figure.

Will has a unique ability to understand the paranormal and, aside from using his gift to help many people with their various hauntings, hopes to put to bed a personal demon, too.

While the writers ensure there are plenty of thrills in the series, there are a few faux pas with the storytelling, especially with a lack of closure in some instances. It was a bit of a bugbear for me.

Rangaka is a hoot throughout; his grumpy, sceptical and sarcastic character is lovable.

Miller brings a lot of warmth and glam through her role. And Oseyemi plays his role with panache and is a marvel to watch.

There are plenty of jump-in-your-seat moments with this cinematically striking series.

And the leads are compelling as a default ghost-busting trio. Kudos to the writers for the fabulous twist at the end.

“Dead Places” is streaming on Netflix.

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