The Terror review

Based on Dan Simmon’s book from 2007 by the same name, “The Terror” is a fictionalized account of Captain Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to the Arctic, in 1845–1848, to locate the Northwest Passage. Lead by Sir John Franklin and the Royal Navy officer Francis Crozier, and with a crew of 128 men, both ships get stuck in the ice and they find themselves isolated many miles from the outside world. They try to blow up some of the ice with dynamite, without much luck. As members of the crew starts dying from scurvy, tuberculosis and lead poisoning, they also find themselves hunted by an Arctic monster called “Tuunbaq”, which is a creature resembling a polar bear.

The Terror review

“The Terror” has a season of 10 episodes, and Ridley Scott is one of the producers. I’ll admit there are few movies or tv-series that manages to get under my skin these days, but “The Terror” managed to do so. There’s a thick atmosphere with lots of suspense and meat on its bones, and the landscape of ice and nothing-ness really gives a grim and isolating look, and it’s so well done that you can barely see what’s green screen and what’s not. Costumes and scenery are rich with details which also lifts the realism up a few notches and matches the time period. The acting is also great, especially by Jared Harris as the alcoholized Francis Crozier who eventually needs to get his act together and figure out a plan on how to get the rest of the crew back to civilization.

Some additional facts from the true story: Franklin’s wife assembled a search party in 1845 without finding any traces of the ships or the crew, and there were multiple searches since then. Many years later, in 1980-90, several remains were found and exhumed, and the mummified remains showed evidence of severe lead poisoning, and cut marks and polishing of bones indicated cannibalism. As late as 2014, one of the ships were found in the Victoria Strait area north of Canada, which was later revealed to be HMS Erebus. In 2016, they also found HMS Terror. Better late than never…but even if both ships were found, much of the tragic story behind the expedition remains a mystery.

The series are available at Primevideo.

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