Yellowjackets

Yellowjackets

2021 - United States

The building suspense is simply delicious

Yellowjackets review by Jennifer AJ

In 1996, a team of high school female soccer players got into a plane crash that left them stranded in a remote wilderness. 25 years later, the remaining survivors must reckon with whatever happened during the nineteen months they were lost in the woods. 

Yellowjackets

The Showtime thriller drama jumped back and forth in time to document the lives of once-hopeful talented young athletes whose lives got irrevocably altered by the traumatic incident. Once stranded, the girls quickly devolved, Lord of the Flies-style, into an increasingly brutal makeshift society, deceit, and cannibalisms. Yes, you read that right, cannibalism. Gruesome, bold, and visceral, this show exemplified how quickly civilization could turn feral at the prospect of dwindling survival. It has a bold aesthetic inspired by the 90’s grunge visuals. As characterized by the opening credit scene, it’s intentionally dirty and raw - apt given the subject material.

Yellowjackets

Be that as it may, a gore-fest a la Saw this is not. The show carefully explored the psyche of these female characters, both the teenaged versions and their middle-aged selves 25 years later. They were first introduced to us as ordinary high school girls, though we quickly found out that they were not all that innocent after all. The wilderness shed their masks - revealing carefully hidden secrets, demented obsessions, and triggering pains. While the 1996 timeline put you in the thick of the action, the grown-up versions - or what remained of them - grappled with an unknown aftermath that led to their return to the society. A shadow of their former selves, these women begrudgingly reconvened once they realized someone was trying to reveal the nature of their survival in the woods.

Yellowjackets

Populated by a predominantly female cast, Yellowjackets gave women refreshing representation on screen. The Yellowjackets girls are independent and resourceful, but also messy and dysfunctional. Their complexities provided plenty of drama to mine. Lots of great performances here. From the “25 years later” section we got veterans like Melanie Lynskey, Christina Ricci, and Juliette Lewis. Their younger counterparts Sophie Nelisse, Samantha Hanratty, and Sophie Thatcher held their own too. The casting team did a great job matching the actresses from both timelines: not only did they look scarily alike, their mannerisms also tracked. Special mention goes to Ricci and Hanratty for their wonderfully unhinged role as Misty Quigley. We’re used to watching a lovable outcast slowly worm their way to a group, but Misty is a special kind of psychopath that chills you to the bone with her casual creepiness. It’s so understandable why people stay away from her. She is a one-of-a-kind villain you love to hate, acted with such gusto by the two actresses.

Yellowjackets

Tightly written, the show smartly peeled back the onion slowly on what happened in between their crash landing and the present day mystery that reeled them back into that specific moment in their lives. The building suspense is simply delicious, especially followed on a weekly basis (remember, the days before Netflix binge marathon we only got an episode of a show per week). An absolutely killer show.

Yellowjackets

(Yellowjackets is available in the UK on Paramount+)

Published on May 22nd, 2023. Written by Jennifer Ariesta for Television Heaven.

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