Even the first omens are dark: a ship that has been missing for four months suddenly emerges from the fog and drifts ghostly across the sea. Where has the "Prometheus" been? And where are all your passengers? In the first few minutes of their new Netflix series, "Dark" creators Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar leave no doubt that they are once again entering mysterious and mysterious territory with "1899".
This time, the nightmarish does not lurk in dark forests, but in deep waters and the winding corridors and levels of an emigrant ship. From next Wednesday (November 17th) the German production will be available on Netflix.
In eight episodes, "1899" tells of the mysterious events that took place during the voyage of the "Kerberos" from London to New York towards the end of the 19th century. On board is a diverse group of passengers with different nationalities, personal histories and radically different social positions. It quickly becomes clear: all have troubled pasts or secrets and, for their own reasons, hope that the ship will lead them towards freedom.
But when the crew discovers the missing "Prometheus" on the open sea, the journey takes an unexpected, dark turn. Under the direction of Captain Eyk Larsen (Andreas Pietschmann), "1899" sails towards a nightmarish mystery instead of America.
Pietschmann, who has already played a leading role in "Dark", turns the rudder of the "Kerberos" towards the ghost ship and, together with the passenger Maura Franklin (Emily Beecham), tries to make sense of the incomprehensible.
Haunted by their own painful past, the captain and Maura bond in a dark way. Both are full of contradictions. Both have the same haunted look in their eyes, which hints at shocking secrets that soon erupt in realistic nightmares in "1899".
With their mixture of oppressive, shadowy images, throbbing sound and mysterious symbols, Friese and Odar are treading familiar waters in their new work. As in "Dark", symbolism also plays a major role here. Objects and relics associated with the characters are introduced from the beginning, the shapes of which are sometimes reflected in carpet patterns, in clothes or accessories.
While the different levels slowly blur into one another, the individual fates of the passengers also become increasingly intertwined. The strong international cast with actors from Spain, Portugal, Denmark and Hong Kong succeeds in convincingly portraying a seemingly random crowd of strangers - a formation that gradually makes sense. Are they all just parts of a dark roulette?
In "1899" Friese and Odar also skilfully play with fears and hunches, hopes and dreams, which they navigate precisely into the darkest abysses. They take the viewer on a journey that, driven by fiction, reality and nightmare, glides through the past, present and future. Destination unknown.