Why Horror Fans Should Watch the Netflix Show


There is nothing on television right now that is quite like Brand New Cherry Flavor. Released to Netflix in 2021, the limited series follows protagonist Lisa Nova (Rosa Salazar), whose unsettling indie horror movie has caught the attention of major Hollywood producer Lou Burke (Eric Lange). When Lou turns out to be a predator who takes advantage of vulnerable women aspiring to be successful filmmakers, Lisa seeks serious revenge. She doesn’t want to destroy his career she wants to ruin his life. Upon meeting a strange cat lady with a somewhat ominous presence, Lisa might just be able to take down one of Hollywood’s biggest names.


The bizarre woman, who turns out to be a sly witch named “Boro” (Catherine Keener), agrees to make Lou’s life a living hell at Lisa’s request; however, the use of dark magic comes at a considerable price, which happens to involve vomiting up kittens. Is Lisa really willing to destroy everything in her path just to direct her own film? The series focuses less on jump scares and more on stomach-churning body horror and the disturbing hallucinatory images brought about by the use of ritualistic dark magic. From creators Nick Antosca (who made the brilliant Channel Zero) and Lenore Zion, Brand New Cherry Flavor dishes up something new and exciting for eager horror fans.

Methodical Motifs

Rosa Salazar delivers a solid, convincing performance of a strong yet evidently disturbed Lisa Nova. From the very beginning, Lisa’s presence is slightly off-putting, and it is difficult to get an accurate read on her personality or intentions. Her dry, deadpan delivery even inspires laughter at times a rarity in the horror genre. What is clear, however, is that she is not a person to be trifled with.

As she descends further into the metaphorical darkness under Boro’s guiding hand, the hallucinatory chaos of her world intensifies. Viewers meet nightmarish, surrealistic visions and are unable to discern whether they are physically present in some way or if they exist only in Lisa’s mind at first. When they settle their deal, Boro gifts Lisa a plant to keep in her apartment. The vine grows and spreads rapidly throughout the series, overtaking the structure’s foundation and representing Lisa’s departure from normalcy. The pervasiveness of the vine symbolizes the corruption of Lisa’s mind, as the only thing she is able to focus on is destroying Lou’s life, even at the expense of her friendships, success, and overall wellbeing.

Related: American Horror Story: What Can Fans Expect in Season 11?

While the curse is in full-swing, a trapdoor appears on the floor of Lisa’s overgrown apartment, and something is banging on it from underneath. Boro warns her not to enter, but does not tell her why. The trapdoor represents l’appel du vide, or “the call of the void;” although it exudes negative energy, like the vine and the terrifying figure that occasionally haunts Lisa’s vision, the trapdoor is an eerie, persistent temptation to descend further into the realm of darkness.

Boro exists in an almost fantastical realm; she lives in what appears to be an abandoned yet stately mansion. The interior of the home is a literal jungle, host to a variety of lush plants and Boro’s creepy, spellbound thralls. This illusory transition emphasizes the show’s overall mystical, dreamlike tone. Although Boro is an ancient entity and wise to the power of manipulation, there seems to be a powerful magic residing within Lisa as well. Her relationship with her mother, mysterious past, and roots near the jungles of Brazil, often vaguely alluded to but never expanded upon, lend themselves to her intrigue.

Lisa’s inherent spiritual strength causes Boro to hesitate and Lou to suffer. The show’s creators strike a balance with Lisa’s character; her determination is both alarming and admirable, part feminist role model, part dark cautionary tale. The show’s characterizations and world-building, notably the contrast between Lou’s glowing estate and Lisa’s dingy apartment, is full of intent. Notable motifs include the spreading jungle plants, the trapdoor with the descending staircase, and cats, which are often associated with the obscure, serving as witches’ familiars and messengers between realms.

Season of the Witch

Despite the inclusion of body horror, which many find intolerable, Brand New Cherry Flavor appeals to a wider audience than typical horror. The show keeps the body horror to a minimum, focusing instead on building suspense, underlining significant motifs, and telling Lisa’s story. Comparable to the popular horror anthology series American Horror Story, in which Rosa Salazar features in a minor role, Brand New Cherry Flavor features elements that are often lacking in other horror shows and ditches the cheesy dialogue characteristic to other similar series.

Related: Netflix: These Are the Wierdest Horror Movies You Can Watch Right Now

The show, condensed into a miniseries, includes a cast of odd yet interesting characters, surprising comedic moments, intentional symbolism, and witchcraft, which has become a mainstream interest in popular culture. If you enjoyed American Horror Story‘s witchy (and refreshingly hilarious) third season, Coven, you will surely enjoy this trippy horror venture.

The series succeeds in building parallel intensity between Lou’s downfall and Lisa’s descent into derangement. In the beginning, Lou begins to experience minor inconveniences as Boro’s curse takes hold. Lisa’s life is still fairly normal, except she occasionally catches glimpses of that terrifying figure, and her sacrifice to Boro is uncomfortable, to put it mildly. When Lisa becomes impatient, Boro gives her some tips to expedite the process of destroying Lou’s life at Lisa’s own expense. The degree of intensity begins to escalate on both ends, eventually reaching a fervid peak. At the end of each episode, the show leaves viewers on the edge of their seats, anticipating Lisa’s next move and the gruesome consequences to follow.

Though not meant for the faint of heart, Brand New Cherry Flavor is both a tolerable introduction to body horror and something fun to watch for the seasoned gore and horror junkies. The Netflix series also satisfyingly satirizes self-empowerment and autonomy by highlighting the lengths at which Lisa goes to achieve her ultimate goal and regain control of her film. The eight-episode miniseries format expands the limitations of film, allowing fans to fully commit to the viewing experience and heightening the effect of the show’s suspenseful descent to hellish madness. Rosa Salazar, who is also fantastic in Undone, is the star of show, leading the audience with her down the trapdoor staircase and into the depths that lie below reality as we know it.


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