Ratched: Will Netflix origin series be campy or creepy?

Ratched will detail the early exploits of the infamous nurse, and the trailer for the Netflix series offers a jarring mix of creepiness and camp.

Last we left the Ratched-verse, some teaser images along with the impressive ensemble cast had been revealed. Now, the forthcoming Netflix origin series, executive-produced by Ryan Murphy, has received a trailer.

As portrayed by Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nurse Ratched was a character whose soft-spoken manner betrayed the tactics of a coiled python. While Ratched was not the focus of that film, it brings into question whether this was always her personality, or if she acquired her subtle cruelty over time.

First and foremost, the trailer for Ratched is busy. It provides teases of character backstory, but highlights supporting players and side plots (including a creepy marionette show?) as much as the titular nurse.

Starting with a cringe-worthy encounter with a gas-station attendant, the first half of the trailer unravels into a tongue-in-cheek camp-fest. There are yawning low-angle shots, pristine and colorful costuming, overt lighting schemes, and actors who look far too perfect (even with burned faces).

It reaches a crescendo when Ratched (Sarah Paulson) confronts Nurse Betsy Bucket (Judy Davis) over consumption of her peach; a pin-drop encounter where you don’t register the glaring innuendo until the cutaway. It marks a wonderful turning point, but gives way to flashes of darker imagery (including a trans-orbital lobotomy from the patient’s POV) played in an exaggerated manner, ironically accompanied by an upbeat period tune.

Based on the evidence here, it looks like Ratched will owe more to American Horror Story: Asylum than something straight-faced and serious (like, say, The Handmaid’s Tale). I’ll give it a look when it premieres on Netflix, but many of Murphy’s series are starting to blur together for me.

On the subject of American Horror Story, Deadline has more good news for Paulson fans – the actress will be making the jump to the director’s chair for an episode of Murphy’s spin-off series, American Horror Stories.

Little is known of the series at this time, let alone when it will be revealed to the public, but Deadline summarizes it as, “[a] companion anthology series to AHS where each episode is a stand-alone ghost story.”

Ratched premieres on Sept. 18 on Netflix. It has already been picked up for a second season. 

What are your thoughts on the Ratched trailer? Is it creepy enough? Let us know in the comments.