Les Revenants: A Review


Haut et Court / Canal+

Demari Hudson, Staff Writer

Les Revenants (The Returned) is a French supernatural television series produced in 2012 based on the French film, They Came Back. There are two seasons with eight episodes each. The series was introduced to me during my first year of French class. I have always been attracted to the paranormal or supernatural aspect of life, so I was instantly intrigued. Just recently, I have picked up watching the show again. The show includes many metaphysical characteristics, such as twins being able to feel what each other is feeling and letting go of the deceased so that they can have a smooth transition to the afterlife.

The series begins in a small French town in the Alps where dead people re-appear, alive and normal, trying to resume their lives without the knowledge that they have died. When the returned come back, strange power outages and lowering of water levels occur. Strange marks begin to appear on the living and dead. Some of the “deceased” characters are children and teenagers who have done no evil in their life while their are some people that returned who were murderers or made bad choices. The alive-again characters all have a story of how they died revealed in each episode. From a bus ride falling off a cliff, killing 15 year old Camille, a twin sister of Lena, to a murderous home invasion killing an 8 year old boy, Victor.

This TV series is not a typical zombie story. Even though there is some violence, the series is not the typical gory, gruesome story of decayed remains returning to life. The deceased come back unchanged from their death and the same age as when they died. While people are returning, their families  are having tough transitions dealing with the returning of their loved ones such as Camille’s parents divorcing after her death.

The show envelops you with its eerie and mystic setting. The snow cover mountains creates a chilling mood and goes with the cold temperature of a dead body. Each deceased character’s story reveals their life and how they affect other character’s lives. Watching each story also reveals cold, dark characteristics of other characters such as Pierre, a church pastor involved with the murder of Victor. Shady, right?

Season 1 was a great season and most shows don’t make it to a second season, so when I found out there was a second season, I began binge watching it.

Sadly, Americans have tried to remake this original French series and have failed at it. The American version is not as deeply involved with the subject of death and the afterlife as the original. I couldn’t even get past 20 minutes of the American version. Other French movies that my French teacher showed us were also much better than their American remakes. This series is by far one of my favorite because I do not shy away from talking about death and what happens when we leave this lifetime. I also do not fear death, so it is very easy for me to watch things in the supernatural genre such as Insidious and Paranormal Activity. Ever since I watched the first episode of Les Revenants my sophomore year of high school, I have confronted death with a new perspective, and I have researched different interpretations of death.

Death is not always physical; it can be spiritual or mental.