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“Baby Reindeer,” A Show that Crawls Under Your Skin

Baby Reindeer. Credit: Nexflix.
Baby Reindeer. Credit: Nexflix.

Baby Reindeer, Nexflix’s latest series, is a haunting and deeply personal exploration of obsession and psychological torment, offering an intense and unflinching look at the real-life horror of being stalked. While its raw storytelling and gripping performances captivate, the relentless intensity might leave some viewers emotionally exhausted.

This series offers a gripping and unsettling dive into thoughts of obsession and the blurred lines between love and fixation. The show, based on Richard Gadd’s critically acclaimed one-man stage play, retains its raw nature, pulling the audience into Gadd’s deeply personal and harrowing experiences. The narrative’s foundation is Gadd’s real-life encounter with a stalker, and it effectively translates his chaotic and unnerving journey onto the screen, keeping viewers on edge with its intense claustrophobic storytelling. 

The direction of the show is sharp, often using close-ups and dim lighting to heighten the sense of paranoia and vulnerability that permeates Gadd’s world. 

The supporting cast and main characters, though secondary to Gadd’s central performance, delivers strong contributions that underscore the isolating and damaging effect of stalking. So damaging that it has affected the lives of some of the cast: “The other day I was walking down the street and I looked like Martha, [because of how bad my hair was],” said Jessica Gunning. “A lady stepped in front of me and just screamed in my face.” 

The script does an admirable job of maintaining a delicate balance between dramatic tension and emotional resonance; providing a thoughtful and often disturbing exploration of its impact. 

However, Baby Reindeer may not be for everyone. The intensity and heavy subject matter is emotionally exhausting, and viewers may find it difficult to watch due to its stark depiction of real-life horror. The show deals with sexual abuse, obsession, addicted, and the idea of being trapped. “I had to go into a very obsessive state,” says Gadd. “I did mad hours on it. My best writing was at like, 5 a.m. onwards” .

While the series is undeniably powerful and thought-provoking, its pacing can occasionally feel uneven, with some episodes dragging as they dive into Gadd’s psychological state. Despite these minor shortcomings, this series stands out as a bold and compelling addition to Netflix’s catalog, offering a haunting look at the dark side of human obsession and the enduring scars it leaves behind.  

Overall this original Netflix series is a courageous and unsettling series that does not shy away from the scarring reality of psychological trauma. When Richard realizes what he has become he says, “When you spend so long swallowing your shame, it is so hard to stop it becoming part of you,” – Richard Gadd.

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Lola Valentin, Writer
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