My favourite Harlan Coben Netflix adaptation (he has a series-making deal with the OTT channel) is, without a doubt, Safe. It was my first Coben, and none of his other offerings has been as riveting. The ones I watched subsequently appeared to fall into a formulaic rut: a little too preachy (especially in the parenting vertical since most have teenagers in pivotal roles), and at times predictable — which do not really augur well with the makings of a thriller. But nonetheless, they make for a binge-worthy watch.
Hold Tight is the latest Coben series. It’s in Polish and set in a Warsaw suburb, but the cool thing is you have an option to switch to a dubbed English mode — and unlike a few others I’ve watched where the voice modulation of dubbing artists was pretty dismal, this one does a good job with inflection and syncing.
A helicopter mom Anna (Magdalena Boczarska) believes she’s being protective about her grieving teenage son Adam (Krzysztof Oleksyn), whose best friend has just died under mysterious circumstances. Adam reacts angrily and retreats further into a shell, but Anna, who has installed spyware on his phone, finds out he’s having conversations with other friends, including his girlfriend, about his possible involvement in the death.
Meanwhile, the deceased boy’s mother also begins to believe there was something odd about the death and requests a police investigation — and, around the same time, Adam goes missing, invoking a cloud of suspicion as to what could have actually happened. Predictably, a lot of it has to do with substance abuse, and being in the company of the ‘bad lot’, but the trail also gets murkier as new twists start emerging at every corner.
Soon, yet another predictable roadblock is hit: if it was indeed murder, it now looks like almost everyone on the scene could be a potential suspect. Side by side, there is also the matter of an awful lot of cans of worms being ripped out open on lies and secrets — yes, one more usual suspect in the litany of OTT ‘gritty’ thrillers.
Overlaying the narrative is the strong message of parental control. It’s almost like damned if you do, damned if you don’t — and you cannot help feeling a little sorry for modern-day parents whose wards are under the constant purview of technology that enables, and facilitates, disturbing behaviour.
My house in the wintry fantasy republic, made of potato MDF and covered in perfumed mash potato veneer, would be home to a canvas print of Van Gogh’s The Potato Eaters
...that spooked an American family who moved to the suburbs from the city — into their ‘dream home’