Nicole Kidman stars in Hulu’s new mystery series Nine Perfect Strangers. The eight-part series is adapted from a novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty, who isn’t famous for writing horror. However, the series’ trailer might have made you believe that Nine Perfect Strangers is a horror flick.
Kidman plays an ethereal Russian woman, Masha, running a famed wellness center at Tranquillum House. The center enjoys rave reviews for its transformative powers. However, the nine strangers picked by Masha enjoy a different, drug-addled experience.
Without giving up too much, we will explain why Nine Perfect Strangers is not scary.
Nine Perfect Strangers is an uncomfortable watch, but it is not scary
Tranquillum House achieves its extraordinary healing results by offering drugs such as LSD and ecstasy to its guest. Masha, the wellness guru, adopts a new system that involves giving drugs to the unsuspecting guests without their consent.
She believes that the benefits will outweigh the risks of nondisclosure. Unfortunately, a treatment referred to by Masha as ‘psychedelic therapy’ proves psychotic rather than healing.
As the drugs leave their bodies, the guests realize that Masha has locked them in a room with no food. They inadvertently become pawns in Masha’s deranged games. She tells them that the only way out is to decipher a game she’s made up with her crew, only for her to withdraw the last clue before the guests figure it out.
Masha then tells them that, to get out, each has to state why they deserve to live. She coaxes them into talking by playing the sound of fire and filling the room with the smell of smoke. The guests eventually learn that it’s a trick designed to get them to open up.
Nine Perfect Strangers is an uncomfortable watch, but there’s nothing scary about it. No blood, creepy killers, psychological horror, cults, or anything you associate with horror.
Is Nine Perfect Strangers creepy? Yes. But there’s nothing in it to keep you up at night.
You’ll be pleased to learn that the nine strangers return to their everyday lives better than they were before they checked into the Tranquillum House.
Liane Moriarty wrote Masha’s character with Nicole Kidman in mind
Nicole Kidman embodies Masha with such characteristic ease that you might think the author created Masha with Nicole in mind. As it turns out, you are correct.
“When she [Liane] was writing the novel, she said, ‘I’m writing a character for you called Masha,” Kidman told USA Today. “And then I read it and was like, ‘This Masha character, should I be offended or flattered?'”
Kidman reveled at the opportunity to do something ‘really weird and really strange.’ She revealed that she stayed in Masha’s character throughout the five-month shoot. “I actually didn’t hear her real voice until she gave her wrap speech to the cast and crew at the end of production,” Regina Hall said.
“I stayed in the accent, and there was definitely an essence,” Nicole said. “I tried to relate to people in a particular energy, which was probably disconcerting. I do remember when we wrapped and I did a speech, (castmates) Melvin (Gregg), Tiffany (Boone) and Manny (Jacinto) all said to me, ‘We’ve never heard your real voice before.’ They were shocked.”