Culture Shock is the 10th episode of Hulu’s web TV series Into The Dark. The series is a horror anthology, billed to run for a single season of 12 episodes (at the rate of one episode per month) with each episode inspired by a notable American holiday in the month in which it premieres or runs. Since the series kicked off on the Walt-Disney-owned video-on-demand service (Hulu) on October 5, 2018, episodes 1 through 9 have been respectively based on:
- Halloween (October 2018) – the first episode.
- Thanksgiving Day (November 2018) – the second episode.
- Christmas (December 2018) – the third episode.
- New Year is the basis of the fourth episode (January 2019, but the premiere actually held on December 28, 2018).
- Valentine’s Day – the fifth episode (February 2019).
- Internation Women’s Day – the sixth episode (March 2019)
- April Fools’ Day – the seventh episode (April 2019)
- Mothers’ Day – the eighth episode (May 2019)
- Fathers’ Day – the ninth episode (June 2019)
While the 11th and 12th episodes will respectively take August and September 2019 and based on the First Day of School and Daughters’ Day, the 10th episode Into The Dark: Culture Shock which premiered on July 4, 2019, was inspired by the American Independence Day. Read on as we analyze this episode of the well-acclaimed series.
The Plot of Into the Dark: Culture Shock
President Donald Trump’s controversial border wall idea remains in the pipeline. But already, it has engendered a situation at the southern US border that an increasing number of Americans consider a crisis. This situation becomes the theme of the Into The Dark: Culture Shock episode which significantly premiered on the Independence Day (July 4, 2019).
The episode tells of a young Mexican woman named ‘Marisol’ who decides to take the risk of crossing the border illegally from Mexico into the USA. Ready to pass through any difficulty – or even to die – rather than remain in her country, Marisol undertakes the dangerous journey across a desert hoping to find a greener pasture (the so-called American Dream).
Not quite against her expectation, Marisol gets engrossed in nightmarish situations in the course of the journey, she ends up getting raped in the desert. Then, the rapist gets her pregnant. As a result of bearing a pregnancy amid the hellish situation of the desert, the central character of Hulu’s Into The Dark: Culture Shock, Marisol, returns to Mexico.
Yet, Marisol could not hold back her desire to get to the US. So, she renegotiates with the coyotes for another trip. This time, things get so bad she ends up unconscious – almost dead. But then, she wakes up to find herself surrounded by a very beautiful ambiance largely populated by fellow Latin Americans and everyone is very caring towards her. She first wonders if she is dead or alive.
Then, just when she begins to relish her new environment, she gets to realize she has been deceived: she is actually in captivity in a country that is most probably not the US. Eventually, it turns out that she and the other Latin American migrants were being held captive at an experimental facility somewhere at the US side of the border where American scientists were using them for study. The plot develops through Marisol’s concern over her baby and safety, her attempts to escape and the rigmarole of it all.
By interpretation, the deceptive utopia Marisol and the other illegal migrant find themselves in goes to expose the lies in the so-called American Dream. How come? She wakes up to a utopia while she is actually in captivity just as people are fed with lies that once they come to America they will have all their beautiful dreams realized.
Who Are The Cast Members?
Before we go into the character analyses of Hulu’s Into The Dark: Culture Shock, it seems right for us to first understand the genre of the entire series. The series belongs mutually to two movie genres which are horror (content) and anthology (form) as earlier mentioned. For the cast to make sense to you, therefore, you need to understand the formal aspect of the genre: In movie classification, an anthology refers to a series where each episode presents you with a different storyline using a different set of characters. Each episode or season of an anthology will also have its own plot but, in the long run, there would often be a loose connection among the segments.
With the above explanation in mind, we come to the character analysis of the series. The episode is directed by the Mexican-Canadian director/actress, Gigi Saul Guerrero, and based on a script she co-wrote with James Benson and Efren Hernandez. Gigi who also acts in the role of ‘Paola’ has Martha Higareda, Richard Cabral, Oscar Camacho, Felipe de Lara, Ian Inigo, Shawn Ashmore, Barbara Crampton, and Creed Bratton in starring roles. Only Crampton, Bratton, and Ashmore got to play non-Mexican roles among the star actors.
Martha Higareda as ‘Marisol Ramirez’
Born as Martha Elba Higareda Cervantes, the actress who portrays the role of Marisol is a Mexican lady. Apart from acting, Martha also works as a screenwriter and producer. Born on August 24, 1983, Martha’s first credited movie role ever was as Renata in 2002’s Mexican romantic drama film, Amar te Duele. She has since filled no less than 40 film and TV roles in both Mexico and the US. In her role as Marisol, Martha brings her Mexican background to bear in helping the American audience see the Mexican illegal migrants from a personal angle beyond the many media and official stereotypes.
Richard Cabral as ‘Santo Cristobal’
Born on August 28, 1984, this American is mainly an actor although he also does a bit of screenwriting and movie production. Since 2009 that his acting career kicked off, Richard has been credited with no less than 26 film and TV roles. He is best known for playing the double role of ‘Hector Tonz’ (appearing in 11 episodes in 2015) and ‘Sebastian De Le Torre’ (appearing in 5 episodes in 2016) in the ABC anthology crime drama series, American Crime, which aired between March 2015 and April 2017. In Hulu’s Into The Dark: Culture Shock, Richard’s character, Santo, is one of those crossing the border with Marisol.
Barbara Crampton as ‘Betty’
Barbara Crampton is the American actress who has acted as ‘Leanna Love’ in the hit CBS soap opera The Young And The Restless since 1987, appearing last in 2007. The veteran actress who was born in 1958 is noted for being a good character actress in the horror genre. In Culture Shock, Barbara acts as Betty, the woman in whose apartment Marisol wakes up in captivity. Betty feigns a caring attitude toward Marisol in order to deceive her.
Shawn Ashmore as ‘Thomas’
The identical twin brother of the actor Aaron Ashmore, Shawn is the Canadian actor who filled the double role of ‘Bobby Drake’ and ‘Iceman’ in the X-men superhero film series and its video game version. In Hulu’s Into The Dark: Culture Shock, Shawn fills the role of Thomas, an American scientist who acts as a director of the facility where Marisol and her colleagues are held. He too, like Barbara Crampton’s character Betty, does a good job of putting up an appearance of being nice and caring in order to deceive the captors.
Felipe de Lara as ‘Oscar Molina’
Born on October 22, 1981, Felipe de Lara is a Mexican actor, guitarist, composer, and vocalist. In Culture Shock, Felipe acts as Oscar Molina who was part of the small group that was undertaking the dangerous cross-border journey. Along the line, he becomes Marisol’s boyfriend. But whereas Marisol was not in the mood for sex given the circumstance, Felipe de Lara’s character rapes and got her pregnant.
Creed Bratton as ‘Attwood’
Creed Bratton acts as Attwood, a bad-tempered (almost mad) scientist at the facility where Marisol and other captured illegal immigrants are held. Unlike the characters of Shawn Ashmore and Barbara Crampton, Attwood manifests his cruel nature towards Marisol and her co-captors to reveal the futile hope in the so-called American dream being held by millions of people beyond the shores of the United States.
Ian Inigo as ‘Ricky’
Ricky, played by an upcoming Mexican child actor, Ian Inigois, is a young Guatemalan boy who is part of the group of illegal immigrants on the cross-border journey. His role goes to reveal how the mirage of the American dream cuts across age and nations.
Other credited roles are Oscar Camacho (as ‘El Zoro’), Laura Ceron (as herself), Sal Lopez (as ‘Coyote’), Daniel Edward Mora (as ‘Chayan’), Chris Carlisle (as ‘Greg’), Omar Chavez (member of a cartel), Seri DeYoung (as ‘Daisy’), Gigi Saul Guerrero (as ‘Paola’), Katie Wilson (as ‘Christine’), and Marie Oldenbourg (as ‘teacher’)
SEE ALSO: Top 10 Horror Movies of All Time
Other Facts and Details About Into The Dark: Culture Shock
How the Title Relates to the Theme
Into The Dark: Culture Shock is so named since the illegal immigrants found themselves in another culture different from theirs, where they came face to face with, first, a nightmare and then a surreal atmosphere. Marisol, for example, had to do a lot to come to terms with the fact that those US captors were able to conceal so much sinister intention with smiles that were misleading.
One feature that marks Into The Dark: Culture Shock out among the other episodes of the series is that the plot develops in two major languages: Spanish and English. This is understandable since the events supposedly set in two countries with two different lingua francas: Spanish for Mexico and English for the US side.
The Independence Day Connection
Yes, as already said, each episode of the show is inspired by a notable US holiday. So, since Culture Shock premiered on Independence Day (July 4, 2019), how does the theme relate to this? This may not be clear at first, but it goes to remind all that the American Dream is something more sublime than some wishful thinking being held by some people. The real American Dream is to be traced back to the aims and objectives set out by the founding fathers of the United States as conceived in the beginning.
Production Company and Setting
Together with other episodes in the series, Into The Dark: Culture Shock was produced by Blumhouse Productions. The movie production company based in Los Angeles, California, was founded by Jason Ferus Bloom.
This episode of the series sets between two countries (Mexico and the US) with Mexico probably taking more than its fair share in terms of characters and surface area. However, its country of origin is the United States of American.