Channel Zero: No-End House: This Isn't Real
September 22, 2017 11:46 AM - Season 2, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Inspired by Brian Russell’s Creepypasta tale, Channel Zero: No-End House tells the story of a young woman named Margot Sleator, played by Amy Forsyth, who visits the No-End House, a bizarre house of horrors that consists of a series of increasingly disturbing rooms.

Originally aired:SyFy September 20, 2017. Currently available: Sling, Youtube

Plot (major spoilers ahead, but also might be missing things. I pieced this together from several sources and memory. I'm including an unusual amount of information to try and garner interest. I desperately want to talk to you mefites about this show):

The opening scene shows a completely black house at the end of a suburban street. As a woman runs toward it – a man in a suit pursues her. She runs toward the house, the man catches up to her and tackles her in the lawn. The words "this isn't real" are carved into her arm. As he pins her down, he holds a zippo up to the words.

We're taken an indeterminate amount back in time. Margot, the girl in the first scene, meets up with her friends Jules while Jules is home from college. Hints are given that Margot doesn't like to leave her house much. While sitting by Margot's pool, the two receive a strange purple-hued video on each of their phones, showing a warped house, faces, and orchids. Margot's mother leaves for a trip.

That night they go to a party at a bar, and meet up with a childhood friend, JD, who very obviously has a crush on Jules. Margot goes to leave early and is stopped by a suave character named Seth. He asks if she's a misanthrope, too, and there's some general teen flirting. They mention the videos, and JD lets them know that it's a travelling art installation. The videos lead people to a pop-up haunted house called the no-name house.

So the gang all go back to Margo’s house and Margo reveals to Seth how her dad died: he had a bad reaction to some allergy medication and she found him dead. Throughout the episode we've seen flashbacks of them together, playing, swimming in the pool, etc. It’s clearly been very traumatizing, she blames herself for not coming home on time that night. When Margo goes inside, she sees a strange ad on the television that gives her an address of the no-end house. And so the gang decides to get in the car and drive over to see it.

They arrive to the house we saw in the first scene. Cars line the streets, and there are people coming and going. Several people leaving the house are vomiting. JD says he's heard that there's hallucinogens, subliminal images, etc. There are 6 rooms in the house, each one is scarier than the last, and every room has an exit. The gang gets into a group with 3 others. A couple, and then a loner who is carrying a duffel bag. One of them asks how he heard about the house. He says he's been looking for it.

They enter to a small foyer where every surface is painted the same shade of indigo. Spay painted across the door is "Beware the Cannibals”. the team goes into the first room, where there are busts of themselves on white pedestals. For a moment the light are cut out, and when they resume, the busts have been disfigured by floating hands, still gripping on to the plaster. All of them have been broken except for JD's. One girl exits, and the rest of the group head to a door labeled 2.

The second room looks like a giant swimming pool. The lights cut out again, and there's a man in a suit with a wooden helmet and mask on. JD asks if he's one of the cannibals, the man shoves him. The guy continues sizing up the group, and stops at Margot. He leans over her, and whispers a long time. They ask her what he said - "Welcome Back Martian". The lights cut out briefly, and the figure disappears. The man in the couple has also vanished, and starting where is feet were is a streak of blood leading to a wall. The girl runs out of the room crying. JD assures everyone they're just actors. The man with the duffel bag tells them they should leave. That its not too late.

They (of course) ignore him and press on. Room 3 requires them all to go in separately. Margo finds herself in a dream she used to have as a kid. A long hallway with a mirror that has someone hiding behind it. She sneaks around the mirror to find a terrifying giggling dude. She runs toward the exit but as she passes door #4, she hears Jules’ voice, so she goes in after her. In Room 4, Margo is forced to watch her father's death on a giant screen.

In room 5, Margo finds a creepy version of her living room with a clay-like version of her father, sitting in the position where he died. Videos of her childhood play behind her on a scary loop. She tries to turn off the tv, but it doesn't work. she slowly approaches the ashy father figure to take the remote from his hand, but he grabs her arm. He holds her, almost hugs her, in a disturbing way. she says "i want to go home". The figure stops, and a door opens. On her way out of the room she hears him say, "you have to go through to go home."

As Margo gets outside the house, she finds a distraught Jules. Thinking that JD and Seth have left them there, they decide to leave but since their car won't work, they walk home, shaken. Jules agrees to stay over a bit. As they're walking up the steps, Jules notices that it says "6" outside the door. Inside, Margot begins walking up the stairs when she hears whistling and stops, turning around to see her father in the kitchen.
posted by FirstMateKate (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I thought this was really good! It seems a little more straight forward than the first season so far, but I like the protagonists and the conceit a lot more, and the direction is still solid. It felt like a lot of scenes were cribbing from It Follows, and I'm completely on board with that. The man giggling behind the mirror was also legitimately scary, which is hard to do on TV.
posted by codacorolla at 7:54 PM on September 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I didnt realize this was back! Thanks! I'll have to on-demand it.

I thought the first season was good but too stretched out for the content so they had to include a bunch of filler.
posted by Justinian at 5:27 PM on September 23, 2017

I thought the first 2 episodes of the 1st season were fantastic, the 3rd was okay, and then it went down hill from there. I agree with Justinian that it felt... too stretched. I also think they were trying to hard to have a big reveal moment.

This season is off to a great start. I found it to be just, genuinely scary. Uncomfortable, unsettling. There's no jump scares, no gore, no torture*, but fuck it's just so creepy and so good.

I watched it a 2nd time, trying to figure out if I could see some clues or something. I thought I'd remember Jules saying something along the lines of "you didn't get a video" to JT while they were hanging out either in the bar or by the pool. But now I'm not so sure if I remember that correctly? Still, it's weird that he was the only one to have heard of the house before, and his bust was untouched in the first room.

Also whoever did the sound design is doing such a good job

*yes this might be a small slight at how AHS has gone downhill over the past however many unwatchable seasons
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:52 AM on September 24, 2017

Really enjoyed this. I was a fan of the first series even though it didn't quite stick the landing. It really nails creepy and unsettling without feeling cheap or exploitative. I recall hearing on a podcast that the makers wanted interesting indie directors who don't have TV experience to make the series because they're used to creativity with budget constraints and don't know/care how to pace a story for TV in the traditional sense.

Hopefully this will be on VoD of some kind here in the UK as having the first episode up for free on YouTube is a strong move.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:47 AM on September 24, 2017

Yeah I watched it last night and I quite liked it. Let's see if they can maintain the quality through a whole season.
posted by Justinian at 1:00 PM on September 24, 2017

So, I noticed on rewatch that the orchids from the phone video line the street in the opening scene as well. And that the man who chases the first girl down the cul-de-sac seems to have on a very tight navy blue suit, much like the masked man in room #2.

I'm shocked at how great this series has already been and it seems destined to become a cult classic, sort of like the Ray Bradbury Theater.

JT was also the one who said that "these guys are probably actors" meaning... he probably is the actual actor, hence the not-touched bust in room #1?

Or maybe he'll be the only survivor.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:25 PM on September 24, 2017

I had the same issues with the first season, but I too really liked this episode. I'm actually a little wary of how the story will play out from here, because I liked how almost self-contained this first episode was, even with that cliffhanger. Like, if this was just a single episode a la The Outer Limits, I'd actually be pretty satisfied. I'm leery of it stretching out the premise more than it will support, or ending up on some bizarre story tangent that's way far afield of what we've seen so far.

As it is though, I thought this was delightfully creepy and unsettling, and never really relied on cheap scares, instead building up the unease to a point where things were genuinely nightmarish. And by nightmarish, I mean it really felt as weird and anxiety-inducing and something's-wrong as a nightmare can feel. And great sound design and direction that didn't feel like TV.

Also, I really liked that this updated the haunted house concept to be more in line with the weird and immersive haunted house/ARG/interactive theater type experiences that are actually around now. I mean, I personally would still be suspicious as hell of a creepy goddamn house like that just showing up, but it did go a ways towards explaining why the main characters were relatively credulous about it all.
posted by yasaman at 12:26 PM on September 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I personally would still be suspicious as hell of a creepy goddamn house like that just showing up, but it did go a ways towards explaining why the main characters were relatively credulous about it all.

Two years ago I went to a HUGE immersive haunted house. It was actual 7 DIFFERENT houses and corn maze. It was amazing how big it was and the effects. I was absolutely in no way prepared for how big these things could be. Having gone through that the idea of a single haunted house suddenly showing up? Yeah I could actually see it being pulled off these days.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:51 AM on October 31, 2017

« Older Better Things: Rising...   |  Podcast: Reply All: #105 At Wo... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments