Praise Satan for ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’


Courtesy of AP Images

Kiernan Shipka plays Sabrina Spellman in Netflix’s new drama “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”

Joshua Perry, Co-Editor-In-Chief

There are some issues any teenager can relate to: separating from a significant other, fighting against stereotypes, or consigning your immortal soul to the eternal pit. Growing up is difficult.

The unlikely mix of coming-of-age tropes and Satanism place it somewhere between teen soap and cult horror, which is surprisingly effective.”

“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” deals with all of this and more. It’s a new Netflix Original series by the creators of “Riverdale” that darkly contemporizes yet another iconic member of the “Archie” mythos: Sabrina the Teenage Witch, played charmingly by Kiernan Shipka. The spell “Sabrina” attempts to weave is ambitious, and it does stumble a bit on the incantation. But it manages to be enchanting nonetheless.

Sabrina Spellman lives in between the worlds of magic and mortals. She goes to a regular high school, organizes clubs, and advocates for students like any other dedicated student. After school, she returns home to her aunts, who run a mortuary and go to church regularly—the Church of Night, that is.

Sabrina is expected to join the coven once she is of age. Her sixteenth birthday falls on Halloween and a blood moon—which is more than any Satan-fearing teen could ask for—and on that night, she’s slated to sign her name in the book of the beast and leave her old life behind. However, Sabrina grew up in the mortal world, in a mortal high school, with mortal friends—and she’s not easily willing to let that all go.

Shipka is also more than capable in her titular role, drawing the audience into the reality of Sabrina’s inner conflict. Becoming an adult is never an easy transition, and her situation is particularly damning. But Sabrina would rather let hell freeze over than forfeit her independence, and she stands up for what’s right, no matter what her high school or coven says.

“Sabrina” is an undoubtedly original spin on its source material. The unlikely mix of coming-of-age tropes and Satanism place it somewhere between teen soap and cult horror, which is surprisingly effective. Plus, the atmosphere is palpable: Greendale’s nostalgic ‘50s vibe is contrasted by some seriously frightening visuals and eerie cinematography, making the show into some sort of nightmarish reverie—disorienting, but enticing.

Although it occasionally jinxes itself with pedestrian writing, “Sabrina” stays captivating throughout the show. It has a spectacular plot that shifts seamlessly from heartwarming drama to black magic fever dream from scene to scene, which really shouldn’t be possible. But after all, it is witchcraft.