Chambers Brings Something Fresh to the Table
Netflix is quite notorious for introducing their “originals” that sometimes flop harder than a salmon on the shore. Sometimes we anticipate the premiere of a new show to binge watch and then end up royally disappointed. Nothing of the sort occurred when I finally started watching Chambers and thus unwrapped the psychological horror treat it is. Chambers is about Sasha Yazzie (Sivan Alyra Rose) who suffers an unexpected heart attack, undergoes an emergency transplant and becomes close to the family of her heart donor, the Lefevre’s.
From there it’s a spiral of bizarre occurrences that lead Sasha wanting to figure out how Becky Lefevre actually died.
Whenever there’s a woman as a lead for a horror movie or show – she’s often white and conventionally attractive. Despite the strides of having a woman as a lead at all, it doesn’t serve much in the way of representation. Chambers not only gives us a woman of color as a lead, but Sivan Alyra Rose is the first Native woman to star in a Netflix show. That in itself is progress. The progressiveness within the show is also a part of what’s so fresh. The further you get, the more you may understand what it all means. This isn’t just a show about a Native girl who is undergoing bizarre experiences. It’s also about the atrocities that rich white people get away with in the name of their (spiritual or otherwise) causes.
While the idea of someone becoming slowly possessed by another being or person has been done before, the subtext isn’t the same in this case. Women are often vessels for ‘unspeakable evil’ in horror as a genre, but this time the main character is a woman of color. Historically, the bodies of women of color have been used and discarded. It’s still the case to this very day so Chambers brings a realistic narrative to the table, where white spirituals not only manipulate but also give a Native woman no choice in her ‘destiny.’ Having horror movies explore narratives such as this is something new and fresh for the genre. It’s also showing progress in terms of what we can expect moving forward in the film world of horror.
Vanessa Maki is a queer writer, artist & other things.
She’s full of black girl magic & has no apologies for that. Her work has appeared in various places like Really System & others. She is also forthcoming in a variety of places. She’s founder/EIC of rose quartz magazine & is involved in other literary spaces as well.