Fright Crewe isn't the first all-ages horror story that Eli Roth has ever played with. While 2018’s The House with a Clock in Its Walls felt like Roth's take on a children's fable, Fright Crewe (which he created and executive produced with I Am Number Four author James Frey) takes more cues from the teenage supernatural genre -- at times operating like a fusion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Power Rangers. Executive produced by Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco, the series may not be breaking new ground, but Fright Crewe's colorful and creepy take on the premise delivers a fun show for older kids.
Fright Crewe focuses on five teenagers in New Orleans: outcast Soleil (voiced by Sydney Mikayala), her former best friend turned popular girl Missy (Grace Lu), Missy's dim-witted boyfriend Stanley (Chester Rushing), Vodou-obsessed Pat (Terrence Little Gardenhigh) and the quiet Maybe (Tim Johnson Jr.). After being assigned to help clean up a local cemetery, Soleil accidently unleashes a dark and mysterious force of evil onto the world. In the process, she also places the teens into the grasp of spirits who bestow powers, which the five quickly see as both blessings and curses. If they want any chance of protecting New Orleans and their loved ones from the brewing demonic threats, they'll need to come together and master their new abilities.
Fright Krewe follows a well-trodden path, with a focus on teen dynamics and action-adventure that recalls as much X-Men as it does another pop culture play on Buffy. The central drama will be familiar to anyone who's seen something in the genre before, but the execution is fun enough to justify itself. The animation -- especially in framing bigger beats -- is appealing, even if the movement is stiff at times because the focus is more on moments of atmosphere and intricate design. At times, this works for the show's favor, pushing the boundaries with horror imagery intended for younger audiences. But it can leave the action suffers for it, looking janky at times.
The lore of the series is also an interesting way to play with the classic concept, infusing elements of spirituality, legacy, and personal growth into the adventure. The designs of the supernatural elements -- both heroic and monstrous -- are appealing, and serve as a strong contrast to the realistic human looks of the central characters. This lends itself to a comic book-style approach to teen heroics, with the character-driven dynamics serving just as much of a purpose in the show as the actual monster fighting.
The vocal performances are likewise decent -- enlivening basic characters with flashes of unique energy throughout. Lu gets the most flexibility thanks to Missy's arc, and she bites into a dark take on classic teen superhero archetypes. But as with any show that has a tight cast of differing characters, more episodes would give them more time to develop their interplay and personalities. Eli Roth is no stranger to horror, and the more horror-esque moments highlight the show's strengths.
Fright Krewe isn't a game changer, and can't match the ambition and artistry of other DreamWorks animated epics like She-Ra and the Princesses of Power or Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts. But the series is entertaining enough for genre fans and younger audiences -- while also not being frightening enough to scare the latter off. With more strong creature design and further expansion of its characters, it could prove to be a fun Vodou-inspired riff on the teen superhero genre.
Fright Krewe is now streaming on Hulu and Peacock.