The Resonator: Miskatonic U (Episode 2)

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Resonator: Miskatonic U

PREVIOUSLY ON THE RESONATOR: MISKATONIC U:

Obsessive, chillingly calculated young scientific genius and Miskatonic University student Crawford Tillinghast (Dane Oliver) strives to realize the hypothesis of his deceased professor father by engineering the creation of a machine he calls The Resonator, which, by stimulating the pineal gland in a person, allows access to the multi-dimensional doorways he theorizes exist in unseen layers over our own. His invention is successful, but leads to the grisly demise of his colleague, Brian (Thomas Shevela), and, later, the impalement of Crawford’s own girlfriend Mara (Chistina Hélèna Braa) before he and his remaining companions--blonde paranormal investigator Carrie (Amanda Jones), football jock Bear (Alex Keener) and party-boy Brandon (Austin Woods)--must battle both harrowing psychosexual hallucinations and a luminous array of otherworldly phosphorescent apparitions with a taste for human flesh.

That’s the solidly concrete basis of Full Moon Features’ streaming series, The Resonator: Miskatonic U, and this second, concluding, installment both ratchets up the stakes and follows through on the promise of the giddily gruesome first episode, delivering the decidedly Lovecraftian goods in obscene overdoses. In the aftermath of the Resonator’s initial operation, each character experiences their own emotional repercussions to the monstrous awakenings--each, that is, save the unrepentant Crawford, who even in the wake of the previous chapter’s climatic confrontation still desires to boldly push forward with his experimentations. Angered with his seeming blasé stubbornness and guilt-ridden at Mara’s bloody brush with death, Carrie, Bear and Brandon uncover evidence of Crawford’s complicity in Brian’s sudden and mysterious disappearance, only for their theory to be derailed by the intervention of Professor Wallace (Michael Paré), one of the elder Tillinghast’s intellectual competitors who now wants Crawford to rebuild the damaged Resonator for his own nefarious purposes.

The over-the-the-top finale maximizes the potential of the opening act--even with the machine inoperable, slime-slathered, squiggling unearthly entities continue to scuttle across the mystical threshold to our reality, and the show stopping showdown between Crawford’s crew and the creatures overflows with a bounty of bodily fluids bound to quench the bloodlust of any hard-gore horror hound. Oliver again shines as the darkly driven Tillinghast, the epitome of academic brilliance gone awry, and as every minute passes his fragile humanity threatens to slip deeper into the abyss of his single-minded pursuit, and he finds a worthy adversary in the scheming Wallace, a Machiavellian mastermind who comes to the fore as The Resonator’s true villainous wellspring. Chewing each scene with attention-seizing aplomb, Paré becomes the inheritor of Jeffery Combs’ megalomaniacal mad scientist from Stuart Gordon’s 1986 film version of From Beyond, blackmailing Crawford even after confessing to the murder of his father and abounding with aspirations of godhood he hopes the Resonator can fulfill.

The only letdown to the second segment of The Resonator lies in its brevity; at scarcely half an hour it is stunningly short, and with only two episodes, one has to question why this title was a streaming series instead of a feature film, though a teasing suggestion (and a terrific, geek-pleasing cameo by another of Lovecraft’s most infamous characters) at the end insinuates this may merely be the springboard for further misadventures at Miskatonic University. If that’s so, it’s sure to satisfy, because there’s promise aplenty in The Resonator’s premise.

I give Episode 2 of The Resonator: Miskatonic U a hardy 4 (out of 5) on my Fang Scale. Message to Full Moon Features: We. Want. More.

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0