What’s On the Box: Brand New Cherry Flavor

Image Credit: Upsplash Licence: Sterling Davis

Vanshika Dhyani reviews new Netflix horror series based on the novel by Todd Grimson, Brand New Cherry Flavor.

You don’t have to believe in vampires to be scared of them. Horror works because of that feeling that lingers long after the book has been read, and the movie watched. The genre lives and breathes on the discomfort that comes with being alone. Netflix’s new limited series Brand New Cherry Flavor throws graphic scenes of body horror at you, hoping to impress and scare you at the same time. It fails to do either. 

Over the eight episodes, the creators try to weave Brazilian black magic into vengeance, starting with an unlikable protagonist—who doesn't find barfing kittens or devouring guinea pig stew strange in the slightest. Every episode runs wild: scenes do not complement or build upon each other and the right atmosphere for telling such a story is never set.

Set in Los Angeles in the 90s, Brand New Cherry Flavor follows a budding film director, Lisa Nova, who has just come out of her hiatus with a film called Lucy’s Eye. Lisa quickly signs her movie over to Lou—a Hollywood producer who wants to make the movie with her. Although Lou thinks the film has potential and will most likely be a success he decides to replace Lisa. The betrayal leads Lisa to Boro—a witch who offers to put a curse on Lou. 

Every episode runs wild: scenes do not complement or build upon each other and the right atmosphere for telling such a story is never set.

What follows is a series of bizarre dark rituals that try to connect Lisa and Lou so that Lisa can “set his life on fire.” The story develops but barely when Lisa starts conceiving kittens and believing that the portal to hell is in the middle of her bedroom. We learn a little more about Lisa’s movie and its dark secrets, but the plot eventually takes a more cynical and predictable shape. Surprise, surprise: Boro isn’t who she says she is and what she wants from Lisa aren’t just little kittens. Lou is bad, but not as bad as we first thought. 

Although meant to throw off viewers, the ending does very little to make up for 416 minutes of an excruciatingly underwhelming performance. With brilliant actors like Rosa Salaza, Catherine Keener, and a plot that wasn’t half bad, the creators failed to bring Todd Grimson’s book to life.  

If I were you, I’d skip this one, even with its tempting 7.3 IMDb rating. The show only came out mid-August and has 5,629 votes on IMDb, not nearly enough for it to have its true rating yet. If you find those Halloween vibes creeping up on you already and you’re in the mood for gore and body horror I suggest American Horror Story, nobody does 21st century body horror better than Ryan Murphy.