Deadwax: Part 1: The spoiler free review of this Lynchian thriller


Deadwax is a horror thriller from former sound designer Graham Reznick. When rare record hunter Etta Pryce gets an assignment to find a deadly piece of vinyl, she finds herself descending into a world that could lead to madness.

Deadwax is exactly the kind of psychological horror series that I have been wanting for months. An original story with an inventive premise, Shudder is right on the money with this effort. I was fortunate enough to screen the first four episodes and all I can say is prepared to be blown away.

Written and directed by former sound designer and audiophile extraordinaire, Graham Reznick, this production will keep you enthralled from the opening sequence. Remember the commercial from the 80’s is it live or is it Memorex? Well, let’s just say it is sort of recreated but of course in a gruesome fashion.

This sets the tone for this fast-paced look at the world of rare vinyl collecting. When we are introduced to the main character, Etta Pryce (Hannah Gross), she is in the throes of passion. After the exchange with her life partner, Lana (Tracy Perez) you can tell that she is harboring some personal demons that she deftly represses at the prospect of going on the hunt for obscure records.

We find out that she is a tracker of sorts. When she gets commissioned to find a rare piece of vinyl engineered by the elusive master of sound, Lyle Lytton, she gets led down the rabbit hole where she enlists the help of Lana and her old mentor, Ian Ullman.

Ullman (played by the versatile actor, Ted Raimi) showed Etta the tricks of the trade. He taught her how to hone her detective skills as well as her ability to effectively break and enter into collectors’ houses to retrieve rare albums.

The reason why Lytton’s pressing is so valuable is the legend surrounding it. Ian gives her a lead on the dreaded album but warns her about the consequences.

Listening to this particular vinyl can cause madness or death. Of course, this only intrigues Etta more and she vows to recover the record and listen to it.

Meanwhile, the police are involved in a case where a man is literally reduced to ashes. One of the pieces of evidence happens to be an album. After tagging everything, the two detectives Len Perry (Evan Gamble) and his partner Daryl Burnett (West Liang) go back to the station to process everything.

Unfortunately, Daryl makes the mistake of handling the record and meets a very gory end. Len on the other hand experiences weird after effects from the experience that lead him to start doubting his sanity.

The Verdict

In the first four episodes of Deadwax, there is quite a bit going on. I have just provided you with the highlights. So many of these elements tie together seamlessly throughout the episodes that what emerges is a very complex storyline. Bear in mind, you have to pay attention.

Much like David Lynch, Reznick knows how to utilize ambient sound such as a fluorescent light buzz or gentle pulsations to create moods. He even employs different shots that are very reminiscent of the director along with the way certain actors speak their dialogue in stilted fashion.

Related Story. Deadwax premieres in November on Shudder! Vinyl was never deadlier…. light

If you have seen Lost Highway, you will know what I am talking about. Sound can be used to create a myriad of moods and in the case of Deadwax, it is definitely chilling and will leave you wanting more.

Deadwax airs on Shudder Nov. 15. You will be able to stream all 8 episodes.

Are you looking forward to Deadwax? Let us know in the comments section below. We want to hear from you.