What is it that is so captivating about a spiritual battle between demonic forces and mankind? As long has there has been spirituality, the fear of the wrong kind of spirit taking hold of an innocent–or not so innocent–human soul has been present. That basic premise is at the heart of the southern horror drama South of Hell, premiering on WE tv this week.
South of Hell includes an impressive pedigree of genre producers, including Eli Roth, Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum, and Dexter‘s James Manos. Set in Charleston, South Carolina, South of Hell tells the story of Maria Abascal (played by Mena Suvari), a 30-year-old demon-hunter-for-hire. Alongside her brother, David (Zachary Booth), she is skilled and fearless in her pursuit of the demons that live in others. Like those that she hunts, Maria is divided within herself, struggling with her own demon, an entity named Abigail, who resides inside of her, feeding on the evil Maria exorcises from others.
Lamman Rucker who plays Rev. Elijah Bledsoe, was tight-lipped when I spoke with him on set in Charleston, South Carolina. “I can’t tell you anything! So whatever you ask me, I can’t answer,” he joked. While he protected plot points included in the supernatural series, he was able to illuminate the types of characters that live in this world, and that no matter how “good” they may seem, there is darkness in everybody.
“I find him quite interesting,” Rucker said of his character Rev. Bledsoe. “And what’s cool is that all of these characters are likable, even the bad guys, but I think that’s the thing about it: even the good guys are kind of bad guys. We all kind of have an edge or we all kind of have this dark side to us, or these things about us that are unknown and mysterious and yet to be revealed, whether it’s our lives before we all meet these people or whether it’s how our lives are going to evolve. There’s a lot of mythology and mysticism all kind of interwoven in here too so, there’s going to be people with certain capacities or even certain gifts or certain flaws that are going to be revealed throughout the course.”
Series creator Matt Lambert elaborated, telling me that the demons featured in South of Hell have backstories of their own. “The demons that we come up with, they do have their own history to them. Abigail, the demon inside of Maria, in addition to being a part of Maria, definitely reflects inner desires and some subconscious elements of Maria, but she’s also an entity with her own history. She’s been around for a long time, she’s seen the worst of humanity, she’s contributed to the worst of humanity, but she’s also now tied to somebody for a bit longer than she’s ever had in the past. They all have some history so it’s not just a snarling nameless beast inside everybody and the kind of person who becomes possessed by this sort of demon, this sort of demon is drawn to.”
South of Hell boasts an incredible slate of genre directors including Roth himself as well as Ti West (House of the Devil, The Sacrament), Rachel Talalay (Doctor Who, Tank Girl), Jennifer Lynch (The Walking Dead, Teen Wolf) and Jeremiah Chechik (Helix, Reign).
The entire original series will make its WE tv debut Friday, November 27 (today!) and will be available on Saturday, November 28 on VOD, download to own and TVE with bonus content available on WEtv.com.
Image Credits: WE tv