The Left Right Game Audio Drama
So I have been really enjoying I Heart Radio dramas lately. With the pandemic and all the gyms closed in the past winter, I resorted to stair climbing at my apartment for workouts. And these dramas have been amazing for that. And they have been good. 13 days of Halloween and Tomorrow’s Monsters were amazing dramas that kept me on the edge of my seat. So when I was looking for a new drama called The Left Right Game. It sold itself as a supernatural drama starring Tessa Thompson. And I thought, I could go for some spooky mystery and Tessa Thompson is very charismatic actress, so this might be good. Here is my review of I Heart Radios’s The Left Right Game.
So what is it about? It follows two stories. First, Alice Charmin is played by Tessa Thompson. She’s a journalist working for American Stories. She has a beat on paranormal mysteries in the magazine. She learns about the mysterious Left Right Game. There’s a special place in Arizona where, if you drive down a certain stretch of road and consecutively turn left and right, you will begin to travel into another plane of existence. A dimension where everything is unknown and logic does not exist. She meets Robert, a man who is a paranormal investigator. He is leading a convoy of follow believers to play the game and find this place. Alice tags along for the sake of the story. Least to say things get weirder throughout the story.
The second story follows Tom. He was a good friend of Alice. After a car accident, he wakes up to find that Alice has been erased from the world. No one remembers her and there’s no evidence of her. But he knows Alice was real and is determined to find her.
So the good and bad? Let’s start with the bad. I found this story bland and unoriginal. I grew up and still watch horror films and a lot of indie horror flicks. And I would say nearly half of those follow the formula. Boring cast going to a place that is purposely incoherent, so nothing has to be explained. Then have some spooky stuff happen at random and then there is a twist, typically a time loop, or something similar to try to wow the audience. It’s a formula that’s been done a million times before and you can find movie with this plot in the Walmart bargain bin right now. I guarantee it. It was just so bland. This concept of another dimension or place that does not follow the rules of reality can be done well. Annihilation, 1408, and Control all did this so masterfully. They give the audience just enough to try to piece together some rules of the world. But this has no rules. And because nothing is grounded in reality, when something bad happens, it doesn’t seem exciting. It’s too unreal. And also with “anything goes” writing for this story, any spooky stuff that happens is completely random nonsense. Sure, it was nice to see a monster show up, but it had no rhyme or reason to be there. There just seemed to be no connective tissue between the story beats. It was just random. Also, it was very hard to picture what was happening a lot. Like an action scene happens and they are running and I’m asking myself, “Are they running from a truck? Is it a monster?” When someone will say it’s wearing a shirt and I’m like “Is it human? Doesn’t sound human. Why is it wearing a shirt?” I know it’s an audio drama, but it’s possible to show the scary stuff to the listener through good writing. I just listened to two fantastic tales that did it exceptionally well. Also, not only are the character boring, the actors do nothing to try to spice up the story through acting. Tessa Thompson is sleepwalking through this along with everyone else. Also, this is very slow paced. Not much happened until the final four episodes and the ending makes no sense.
The good? There are a couple of good parts to this. And though small, they need to be acknowledged. First there is a scene. There are a pair of elderly siblings in this convoy. And somehow, the sister becomes influenced by the dimension (Often referred to as the road) and as she begins to fade away to it, the love between the brother and sister is explored and it’s beautiful. How she passes away and how her brother desperately wants to save her. It’s a really great scripted scene and is a standout moment in the story. Also, Tom’s story was super engaging. Sure, like the other half of the story, the ending made no sense. But I loved the mystery. He’s desperately trying to find this woman who has been erased from the world. The mystery is grand. The drama is real, as he questions his sanity often. And is an amazing voice actor. He out acts the rest of the cast that it’s not even runny. He’s putting 110% effort into his work, as the rest was clearly there for the paycheck, which is unfortunate. So I loved Tom’s part of the story much more than the supernatural road trip, which is quite the opposite of what it should be.
Overall, this was a disappointment. It was just a mountain of wasted potential. If the writing was better and the execution of the storytelling had better acting, it could be great. But it wasn’t It was boring, bland, overly long and when something happened, it was random. When people died, I honestly couldn’t care less. This is a waste of time. It has couple bright spots, but it not enough to redeem the bad story telling. It’s just not a good story. I do not recommend it. There’s a lot better stuff to listen to than this.
1 ½ smoothies out of Five
Overall Rating: A Poorly Told Supernatural Tale That Desperately Wants to be Smart