If you have cherished childhood memories of Sabrina the Teenage Witch from the Archie comics, you might be in for a surprise with the debut of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which is available from Oct 26 on Netflix.
This reimagination follows in the vein of Riverdale by giving us a much more adult and modern take on the classic comic book character. And the direction that producers have chosen to go looks likely to divide audiences.
Far from the kid-friendly take on magic seen in the original comics and the much-loved Melissa Joan Hart sitcom of the nineties, here Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) is encouraged by her aunts Hilda (Lucy Davis) and Zelda (Miranda Otto) to sign a pact with Satan in exchange for magical powers – amid a string of blood-soaked killings and gory occult antics.
But despite Netflix publicity material suggesting this show owes a lot to horror classics Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, the reality is that Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is mostly a fairly camp exercise that should have adults – and many reasonably sophisticated teens – smiling through a lot of the creepy goings-on.
The show will be on far shakier ground with younger children and more sensitive souls – for whom it is completely inappropriate – as well as those who see nothing amusing about joking around with the subject of spiritual evil.
Despite any looming controversy, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is mostly well made and often cleverly written, and looks set to be a major hit with its target audience.