Review: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Part 4
It's impossible not to be charmed by the Netflix show's bold and bonkers final chapter
Written by Amy West
Like too many Netflix shows that have come and gone before it, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina finds itself having to carry out one hell of a task with its new season: providing its fans with a satisfying conclusion, without actually having known that it was going to end with Part 4.
In the summer of this year, the streaming service announced that it had cancelled the witchy Archie Comics adaptation, meaning that no further episodes beyond its upcoming eight - which were already in the can - would be released. Somehow though, it has managed to deliver a final chapter that is peppered with unexpected full stops and is super silly and fun, yet epic and weighty when it needs to be.
Unlike its earlier instalments, which have typically followed more serialised drama, Part 4 opts for a ‘Monster of the Week’ format with a bunch of Lovecraftian ancient evils descending upon Greendale one by one. Released by Faustus Blackwood (Richard Coyle) at the very end of Part 3, each of them present a different kind of threat for Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka, great as ever in a dual role this time) and co to extinguish, from parasitic squid-like demon The Weird, which has a penchant for lodging itself in amongst people’s internal organs, to the reality-bending The Perverse.
Among all that, there are weddings, a Battle of the Bands competition, buckets of blood, two cracking cameos, a birth and Sabrina Morningstar and Sabrina Spellman, two versions of the same person, continuing to occupy their respective lives in secret; one in Pandemonium with Lucifer and Caliban, and the other in the Mortal Realm with her aunties, Ambrose and the Fright Club gang. The latter, however, can’t help but shake the idea that she might’ve been happier if she had opted to sit on the underworld’s throne.
There’s a lot going on and its fast-paced, borderline chaotic nature won’t be for everyone, but it’s kind of fitting for its last outing to be that way because it showcases what Sabrina does best: throwing memorable characters into macabre situations and making it devilishly entertaining. It’s always had a strong, unique aesthetic and Part 4 certainly maintains that high standard as well, continuing to use stunning cinematography, production design and costumes to decorate its darkness.
Its teen characters still act oddly like adults - particularly when it comes to their raunchy, romantic relationships - a lot, which is something it’s been knocked for in the past. But it seems to have learned from other criticisms, particularly in its sidelining of Prudence (Tati Gabrielle). She’s more integral than ever in the fight against her misogynistic father Blackwood and his conjured cronies here, what with her ability to see things other cannot. The same can be said for Jaz Sinclair’s Roz, too.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Part 4 is not with its faults, but it makes for an unpredictable, energetic thrill ride that’s impossible not to be charmed by. It’s a shame to see this show go, quite frankly because there’s nothing else quite like it on TV these days. If signing our name in the Book of the Beast could force Netflix to make at least one more outing, we’d happily ask where the dotted line and the blood-dipped quill was!
Creator: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Cast: Kiernan Shipka, Ross Lynch, Jaz Sinclair, Michelle Gomez, Miranda Otto, Lucy Davis
Launch date: 31st December
Episode number: 8
Running time: 58 minutes (approximately)