Two Sentence Horror Story is a new horror anthology series from The CW. With two new episodes each week, the series explores different subgenres of horror and different themes. In the first two episodes we saw explorations of motherhood and trauma after a sexual assault. Now, in episode three, “Legacy,” we see grief propel the 30-minute episode.
Directed by Vea Miao and written by Pornsak Pichetshote, and starring Wai Ching Ho, Kim Wong, Benjamin Ye, and Fang Du, “Legacy” follows the story of a family shaken by domestic violence even after their abuser is in the ground. In this episode, the ghost of an abusive husband continues to torment his family. Taking place in an Asian American family, “Legacy” uses pale skin, black eyes, and shaky bodily movements scare the audience, taking this imagery from Asian horror cinema.
But while the use of those traditional horror elements makes the story scary, it’s the moments that deal with the violence he committed in life that bring emotion and weight to the story. While the women in his life confront his violence, we learn about their lives, and his.
When it comes to death, every culture bears the weight of grief and remembrance differently. In “Legacy,” we get a look at how this one Chinese-American family remembers their dead, even with his abuse. By showcasing tradition, the husband’s spirit has a reason to be in the house, the altar is set and offerings made but it also makes “Legacy” go beyond a simple haunting.
This element, as small as it may seem, makes the horror feel lived in. It bridges real experiences with the supernatural. In addition to the cultural moments which hit me hard as a Mexican American who has seen abuser’s pictures on altars for remembrance before, the use of traditional Asian horror imagery lands. While the ghost’s make up is more Are You Afraid of the Dark than The Ring, the emotion in the scenes and the journey of the characters more than make up for that fault. Next to the make-up, there are moments in the episode that are left hanging, like the exorcist being brought in to solve the family’s problems and then falling out of the narrative.
That said, the core of this episode is beautiful in a painful way. Seeing the growth of the abuser’s wife and mother by leaning on each other was emotional and well-acted on both accounts. Where “Squirm” covered a woman’s struggle through sexual assault, “Legacy” looks at the way abuse travels through a family and the struggle of leaving it behind even when it’s long gone.
Two Sentence Horror Stories remains focused on unique, diverse, and relevant stories. If these first three episodes are anything to judge, the rest of the season is set to be one of the best horror series out.
Two Sentence Horror Stories airs two episodes back to back every Thursday at 9/8 CT on The CW.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.