For anyone who has ever purposefully attempted to lucid dream, “Behind Her Eyes” may deter you from ever doing so again. Between night terrors, scandalous affairs and unwanted friendships, Netflix’s new psychological thriller intricately combines drama with suspense while also including supernatural components.

“Behind Her Eyes” is based on the 2017 book of the same name written by Sarah Pinborough. The story focuses on divorcee and mother, Louise (Simona Brown, “Kiss Me First”), who engages in an affair with her boss (Tom Bateman, “Cold Pursuit”) while simultaneously befriending his wife (Eve Hewson, “Robin Hood”). In quite an unfortunate entanglement, Louise begins to learn things about each person from the perspective of their significant other. When faced with having to decide which person is more worthy of her companionship and trust, she is unsure of who to choose.

Throughout the story, it becomes increasingly difficult to decide with whom to sympathize. Although the show only lasts for six episodes, it’s easy to resonate with each character and to become emotionally involved in their lives. Much like relationships in the real world, the ones that form between the characters serve many selfish purposes; yet what is kept unknown throughout the majority of the series are each person’s ulterior motives and secret histories.

It’s understandable that as a lonely, single mother, Louise would become reliant on the company that both people provide her. Her character cannot escape the undeniable chemistry she shares with David, nor can she let go of her growing alliance with Adele. Amid all of this is David and Adele’s marriage, which is not cordial in the slightest. The hostile dynamic remains a mystery throughout the series, leaving the viewer to wonder who’s to blame for the disastrous union.

The series primarily focuses on these complicated and inevitably problematic relationships. Yet, in order to slowly reveal pieces of the story, Adele and David’s history is slowly revealed via flashbacks. These snippets are well done because they show just enough to fill in parts of the story while creating more mystery. This allows for additional questions to form among the audience, keeping engagement high and leaving viewers wanting more. 

This is a typical response when it comes to psychological thrillers like “Mindhunter,” but “Behind Her Eyes” also incorporates paranormal activity. Through its emphasis on night terrors and the ability to control one’s own dreams, the series takes a different yet very thought-provoking approach to the genre.

With that being said, the suspense grows throughout the entirety of the series. Between the gloomy settings, graphic dreams and twisted plotlines, the anticipation of disaster builds. Nevertheless, this persistent uncertainty remains enticing to the audience. Louise, on the other hand, is a continuous victim to the many unknowns presented before her. It is with each additional unknown, however, that she becomes warier and warier of the relationships she has formed. 

Who can she truly trust: the pitiful friend who has taught her how to suppress her night terrors or the desperate man who takes away her loneliness?

Daily Arts Contributor Molly Hirsch can be reached at mohirsch@umich.edu

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