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The Returned: Back from the Dead

The mysterious homecoming of the dearly departed upends a remote mountain town in this eerie horror drama.


Ever read author Frederic Brown’s sweet little horror story, “Knock”? The ultra-short tale goes like this:

The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door …

Short and sweet – yet cryptic and terrifying. It’s the first thing that comes to mind when we think of The Returned, A&E’s English remake of the creepy cult hit from France that reinvented the zombie genre.

More brainteaser than brain appetizer, The Returned creates a new kind of “zombieland.” Set in a remote mountain town, it follows a group of people whose lives are upended when loved ones return from the grave, igniting both positive and disastrous consequences.

The pilot kicks off with a crash: A school bus plunges off a cliff, killing everyone on board. Grieving survivors are left feeling like the last people on earth. Then comes that eerie knock on the door…

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You have Camille, a strawberry blonde preteen who thinks it’s the same day as the crash, only to discover her identical twin sister looks drastically different. Simon, a mop topped young man who doesn’t know he’s dead, and is on a mission to find his fiancée. A seductive little boy named Victor returns from the dead to make friends with a suicidal woman named Julie.

But the creepiest character award goes to mysterious brothers Adam and Tony. Adam was a serial killer before his death, and elder brother Tony hopes Adam’s murderous ways died with him. But soon after the killer’s return, a series of gruesome murders occur – each bearing Adam’s deadly signature. No spoilers, but the brothers’ buried secrets just might rise from the grave.

While some fans of the French original may not welcome a reanimated English version, we’re pleased to hear A&E aims to memorialize Les Revenants rather than spit on its grave (though there is mention of a dramatic new twist around episode 6). Recent thrillers like Matt Reeves’s Let Me In and David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo succeeded in putting a Hollywood shine on excellent imports. Let’s hope The Returned can do the same.

the returned

New to the eerie world of resurrected loved ones and undead serial killers? No worries. All eight episodes of Les Revenants are available now via Sundance on Demand. The entire original series is also on Netflix, so knock yourself out before The Returned debuts on A&E next Monday.

Tune in to The Returned March 9, at 10 p.m., on A&E.

Photos: A&E; Music Box Pictures