I heard about this tv series yesterday and downloaded their pilot episode (the show premiered on the 7th of Feb, two days ago) and will later tonight watch the second episode as well. The River is a spanking brand new paranormal/horror/adventure series created by Oren Peli (he of the Paranormal Activity franchise) and Michael R. Perry. Steven Speilberg is attached as on of the executive producers of this series (is there anything he isn’t involved in?) In continuing Peli tradition, the show is on found footage, a tv shown within a tv show type scenario.Veteran character actor Bruce Greenwood, Leslie Hope & Joe Anderson star in an ensemble cast.
What’s the show based on? Well famed nature explorer & tv show host of ‘Undiscovered Country’ Dr. Emmett Cole went looking for magic in an uncharted part of the amazon jungle in an expedition and went missing. After 6 months of searching for him and having no contact, he & his crew are given up for dead. 6 months after he vanished his emergency beacon goes active and his wife Tess Cole convinces their estranged son, medical graduate Lincoln to join the team she’s setup to go find him. Although he is skeptical, Lincoln agrees as the network funding the search & equipment won’t do so until he joins up. Along with mother & son we have Emmet’s long-time friend and Undiscovered Country producer Clark Quietly, mechanic Emilio Valenzuela and his daughter Jahel; Lena Landry, daughter of cameraman Russ Landry who disappeared along with Cole; and Captain Kurt Bryndilson, head of the expedition.
They find the beacon after a couple of days but no boat or the passengers. The proceed on and find the boat, abandoned or so they think at first. A scary sound emanates from below deck, inside the panic room, which is welded shut. When the finally open it up they find a carved wooden object underneath a blanket. When Lincoln turns it over, something rushes out and injures Lena. Jahel tells Lincoln that the thing from the wood isn’t an animal but a spirit who wanders looking for blood until it’s whole. The wood is a coffin to catch an angry soul and they fed it with Lena’s blood & now it’s strong enough to kill again. Lena finds the backup tapes in the boat and a shocked crew watches as the tapes show a wild and craze-looking Emmet immersed in dark magic and panicking as he tells the camera the engine’s dead and half the crew is dead. Despite that he wants to keep going.
Later the creature attacks and kills cameraman Sammy but it gives a signal to Tess that Emmett is still alive. Tess believes that the creature is the spirit of one of Emmett’s crew. Her resolve strengthened, Tess tells the crew that they are going to find her husband.