The age of the psycho-erotic genre somewhat returns with Netflix’s newly released series What If. The thrilling anthology has been directed by Mike Kelley and stars an expansive cast led by Renée Zellweger. The show deals with the compass of morality and its shift when socially ‘acceptable’ people start doing socially ‘unacceptable’ things. The basic idea of action and consequence in a twisted mid-90s way forms the core. The treatment is very much inspired by Adrian Lyne’s filmography and in a good way.
What If does take time to set in, but it does so quite obviously because numerous other attractive characters with their own plots, mistakes, and future twists, are introduced to keep you engaged. The best part about What If is the perspective with which every character views the show’s central theme. It not only keeps it edgy but brings in some kind of freshness with every episode. There are a lot of similarities between What If and Kelly’s other show Revenge, though unlike the latter, this one never sticks to the theme in a similar concentrated fashion.
What If captures the magic of the long-forgotten psycho-sexual genre perfectly, something that Hollywood still can’t recreate as they’ve proven time again on 50 screens and more. The show has some flaws which emerge right in the beginning, but then, when has this genre claimed to a perfect neo-noir branch classic. What If is a binge-worthy show which evokes a sense of distant nostalgia – simply because of the rarity of the genre – while keeping you hooked and booked throughout. The last episode might come off as a bit underwhelming, but then there’s always a second season to explain a few wrongdoings.