DVD Review: Hex


Series 1 and 2






On its release, Hex was often described as the ‘British Buffy,’ as it involves young women fighting monsters.  It’s not quite as witty or experimental as Buffy, and its plot line is more reminiscent of Supernatural (which had not yet come out at the time), but it is still a fun and stylish teen horror show with an interesting mythology.

The series opens with Cassie having recently enrolled at Medenham college.  She’s finding it difficult to make friends, the one exception being Thelma, her lesbian roommate that scantily hides her desires for Cassie.  Cassie also discovers that she harbors telekinetic powers after touching a voodoo vase.

Aside from Thelma, Cassie is also pursued by Azazeal (played by Michael Fassbender, who starred in X-Men: First Class as Magneto), a Nephilim (fallen angel) that wishes to mate with Cassie to create a demonic super-baby (presumably, physic powers make her an ideal match).  Azazeal kills Thelma, which is a turnoff for Cassie, and results in Thelma becoming a ghost.

The sex and violence quotient is slightly higher in Hex than you you’d find in an American production for the same audience (this cultural difference came for the fore recently when MTV remade the British series, Skins).

One important note to make about the series is that the actors playing Cassie and Azazeal left shortly in the second series, causing a bit of a re-alignment in the plot, which from then on focuses on Ella Dee, a 400 plus year old demon hunter who looks like a teenager fighting against Malachi, Cassie and Azazeal’s wonder-baby.

Ella isn’t as sympathetic a character as Cassie.  Cassie was plagued by the paranormal, but the essence of her character was very human and relatable.  She was a young person, alone in a strange place, trying to fit in.  Ella is basically just a superhero; like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but without the friends or family to keep her grounded in reality.  After Ella’s introduction, the series seems more plot focused, and less interested in character.

Thelma, played by Jemima Rooper, is the exception.  She’s the one real constant in the series, and she’s very likable.  Even when she does bad things, we can understand her emotional reasons because her problems tend to be of a human variety, unlike Ella’s.  One of the things I like about Thelma’s character is that she avoids the cliche of supernatural beings bemoaning the lose of their human lives.  If anything, she’s a lot happier dead.  Kind of like the protagonist of Dead Like Me, she only beings ‘living’ once her life is over.

Malachi sets to work converting the students of Medenham Hall into his Succubi and Inccubi, so he can draw power from them, making him stronger.  He does this by providing them their deepest desires.  Interestingly, Ella and Thelma can turn them back by confronting them with their greatest fear.  I’m not sure if it’s a statement on religion that the devil wins you over by making you happy, and the angels do it by scaring you to death.

The series was canceled prematurely, leaving us with an Empire Strikes Back style ending, and a lot of mythology left unexplained.  Still, what is there is entertaining.  The character development of series one is missed in series two, but the increasingly complex plot and the continuing antics of Thelma make it good in other ways.

The whole series has only been released in England on PAL, region 2 DVDs (which you need a special player to watch in North America).  Sony America released the first 10 episodes (the 6 episodes of series one and the first four of series two, which would pretty much finish off the Cassie/Azazeal arc).